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Dandelion

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Dandelion Flower
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How to get the best out of the Malunggay
Moringa (Malungay) leaves compared to common foods
Values per 100gm. edible portion
Nutrient Moringa Leaves Other Foods
Vitamin A 6780 mcg Carrots: 1890 mcg
Vitamin C 220 mg Oranges: 30 mg
Calcium 440 mg Cow's milk: 120 mg
Potassium 259 mg Bananas: 88 mg
Protein 6.7 gm Cow's milk: 3.2 gm
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Mature Dandelion globe shaped flower. The wind distributes the seeds They look like helicopters in the wind.
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Hundreds of species of dandelion grow in the temperate regions of Europe, Asia, and North America. Dandelion is a hardy, variable perennial that can grow to a height of nearly 12 inches. Dandelions have deeply notched, toothy, spatula-like leaves that are shiny and hairless. Dandelion stems are capped by bright yellow flowers. The grooved leaves funnel the flow of rainfall into the root. Dandelion flowers are sensitive to light, so they open with the sun in the morning and close in the evening or during gloomy weather. The dark brown roots are fleshy and brittle and are filled with a white milky substance that is bitter and slightly odorous.
Helpful Informational Links
Dandelion Root Products
The leaves and roots of the dandelion, or the whole plant, are used fresh or dried in teas, capsules, or extracts.
Try the Dandelion Way
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Kalahari Bushmen have traditionally eaten hoodia stems to reduce their hunger and thirst during long hunts.
Alternative way to loose weight!
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Astragalus root is used to support and enhance the immune system. Astragalus has also been used for heart disease.
Herbal Alternative Health

Dandelion

The medicinal herb Dandelion as an alternative herbal remedy for liver diseases, kidney diseases - Dandelion greens are edible and a rich source of vitamin A.Common Names--lion's tooth, blowball

Latin Name--Taraxacum officinale Picture of Dandelion

What Dandelion Is Used For

  • Dandelion has been used in many traditional medical systems, including Native American and traditional Arabic medicine.
  • Historically, dandelion was most commonly used to treat liver diseases, kidney diseases, and spleen problems. Less commonly, dandelion was used to treat digestive problems and skin conditions.
  • Today, dandelion is used by some as a liver or kidney "tonic," as a diuretic, and for minor digestive problems.
  • Herbal remedy for liver and kidney deseases.

How Dandelion Is Used

  • Both the leaf and root are used for herbal remedies. The leaf helps with water weight gain. Women are especially prone to bloating due to water retention. Another benefit of dandelion is it doesn’t deplete the body of potassium like other diuretics do. The root is an excellent liver detoxifier. A clogged up liver is one of the main causes of weight gain, poor elimination, headaches, and a long list of other problems.
  • The leaves and roots of the dandelion, or the whole plant, are used fresh or dried in teas, capsules, or extracts. Dandelion leaves are used in salads or as a cooked green, and the flowers are used to make wine.

What the Science Says about Dandelion

There is no compelling scientific evidence for using dandelion as a treatment for any medical condition

Side Effects and Cautions about Dandelion

Dandelion use is generally considered safe. However, there have been rare reports of upset stomach and diarrhea, and some people are allergic to the plant. People with an inflamed or infected gallbladder, or blocked bile ducts, should avoid using dandelion. It is important to inform your health care providers about any herb or dietary supplement you are using, including dandelion. This helps to ensure safe and coordinated care.

Herbal Remedy Products with Dandelion as part of the ingredients

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  • Natural Moves™ : Herbal remedy helps maintain regularity and support healthy regular bowel movements.
    • Maintains normal bowel movements and bowel regularity
    • Supports the body’s process of regular toxin and waste removal
    • Addresses non-recurrent and non-persistent constipation
    • Acts as an effective liver tonic
    • Supports healthy peristaltic movement through the digestive tract
  • What Natural Moves™ says about dandelion: Dandelion (Taraxacum officinalis) contains bitter principles that have a tonic effect on the liver and digestive system by supporting the flow of bile. It is also a source of vitamins and minerals, including Vitamin A, D, C, various B vitamins, iron, lecithin, silicon, potassium, magnesium, zinc and manganese. It is of benefit in maintaining healthy fluid levels in the body. Dandelion is also considered to be an excellent cleansing tonic for the liver and recent studies suggest that it is especially beneficial with regards to digestive health. (Chakurski I, Matev M, Koichev A, Angelova I, Stefanov G. "Treatment of chronic colitis with an herbal combination of Taraxacum officinale, Hipericum perforatum, Melissa officinaliss, Calendula officinalis and Foeniculum vulgare." Vutr Boles. 1981;20(6):51-4. Bulgarian. PMID: 7336706).

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  • EcoSlim™ : Herbal supplement for healthy weight and balanced metabolism

Uses: Supports energy levels and balance in the stomach and digestive system*

    • Supports healthy efforts*
    • Helps maintain existing healthy weight and efficient metabolism*
    • Supports break down of dietary fats in the digestive system*
    • Supports balanced sugar levels for balanced mood*
    • Reduces the desire for ‘comfort’ eating*

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  • Aqua-rite™ : Herbal supplement for fluid balance in the body

Uses: Assists the body's natural water elimination process

  • Supports water balance in all cells and organs of the body*
  • Supports circulation and blood flow*
  • Supports healthy energy levels*
  • Supports cardiovascular health*
  • Concentrated tincture formula*

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  • DetoxSlim™ : Herbal supplement for liver health and toxin release, plus support for slimming programs
Uses: Promotes healthy digestion and helps support slimming programs*
  • Supports routine cleansing and detoxification*
  • Supports healthy liver function*
  • Encourages healthy digestion*
  • Supports overall health and wellness*

Dandelions by Jude C Williams, M.H.

Dandelions are tap-rooted perennial plants. They will grow almost anywhere. They are also known as weeds. Dandelions are very difficult to get rid off. Dandelions are now common in all temperate regions. The flower of the dandelion matures into a globe of fine white filaments that are usually distributed by wind, carrying away the seed-containing achenes (akenes). The mature flower of the dandelion which is in the shape of a globe is also called the "clock". While many people think of the common dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) as a pesky weed, herbalists consider it a valuable herb with many culinary and medicinal uses. Dandelion is a rich source of vitamins A, B complex, C, and D, as well as minerals such as iron, potassium, and zinc. Its leaves are often used to add flavor to salads, sandwiches, and teas. The roots can be found in some coffee substitutes, and the flowers are used to make certain wines.

In traditional medicine, dandelion roots and leaves were used to treat liver problems. Native Americans also used dandelion decoctions (liquid made by boiling down the herb in water) to treat kidney disease, swelling, skin problems, heartburn, and stomach upset. Chinese medicinal practitioners traditionally used dandelion to treat digestive disorders, appendicitis, and breast problems (such as inflammation or lack of milk flow). In Europe, herbalists incorporated it into remedies for fever, boils, eye problems, diabetes, and diarrhea.

Today, dandelion roots are mainly used as an appetite stimulant, digestive aid, and for liver and gallbladder function. Dandelion leaves are used as a diuretic to stimulate the excretion of urine.

Dandelion Tonic: In the early spring when dandelion flowers and plentiful, you can make dandelion tonic. Pour 1 pint of boiling water over an (1) ounce of dandelion flowers. Let steep covered for ten (10) minutes. Strain and sweeten. Drink several glasses a day for several days, or as many days you can before the flowers are gone.

Source: Jude C Williams, M.H.

News About Dandelions

Health benefits of dandelion leaves

By Shaloo Tiwari

Preventing cancer, diabetes+ 4 other health benefits of dandelion leaves that will surprise you.

Dandelion leaf is a powerhouse of amazing health benefits. It has been used as a herbal medicine for a very long time. Loaded with amazing nutrients, every part of the dandelion plant is very useful. Belonging to the sunflower family the dandelion leaves have slightly bitter in taste. Here are the health benefits of dandelion leaf:

1. Improves bone health

Rich in calcium, dandelion can be consumed for better growth of bones and ane making them stronger. Dandelions are a great source of vitamin C and luteolin that can also help you protect you from age-related bone damage.

2. Helps control diabetes

Drinking dandelion juice can help diabetics patients. It has properties that can help stimulate the production of insulin from the pancreas which thereby helps to maintain the blood sugar level. Dandelions are known to be diuretic in nature they also help to remove excess sugar from the body by increasing urination in diabetic patients.

3. Digestion

Suffering from digestive issues or constipation? Dandelion leaves can help you with that too. Dandelion leaves act as a laxative that can improve digestion and help stimulate appetite. It is also known to balance the good bacteria in the intestines. It improves the release of stomach acid that helps digestion too. Dandelions can reduce the chances of constipation by improving the flow of your bile.

4. Reduces inflammation

Dandelion leaves contain essential fatty acids and antioxidants that can help reduce inflammation. Especially, phytonutrients in dandelion leaves can help reduce inflammation throughout the body and help relieve you from mild pain and swelling.

5. Help prevent cancer

There are many studies that have claimed that dandelions can slow the cancer growth and the antioxidants and phytonutrients present in the leaves can help cancer spreading further.

6. Skincare

Dandelion milk from the stem and from the leaves have been used for skincare from a very long time. It has been used in treating skin diseases caused by fungal and microbial infections. Rich in antioxidants dandelion juice is also great for skin detoxification.


Is an Anti-Cancer Drug Growing in Your Front Lawn?

By Michelle Schoffro Cook

If you walk past my home, you might notice the dandelions that grow rampant on the front lawn. While neighbors continue to douse the yellow flowers with pesticides, like Monsanto’s Round-Up, which has been shown to cause cancer, I prefer to let the resilient and prevalent flowers grow. That’s because, in addition to dandelion’s excellent nutritional benefits, it is increasingly being shown in research to have potent anti-cancer properties.

One of the most exciting studies about dandelion’s anti-cancer abilities was published in Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. The Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of Windsor, Ontario, Canada in conjunction with the Windsor Regional Cancer Center, tested the effects of an extract of dandelion root (Taraxacum officinale) on melanoma—an aggressive form of skin cancer. The scientists found that after 48 hours of exposure to the dandelion extract, cancer cells begin to die off. The study also found that dandelion was effective on cancer cells that were resistant to chemotherapy.

Other research published in the International Journal of Oncology suggests that the humble dandelion—the weed so many people hate—may offer new hope in the battle against cancer. The researchers tested various parts of the plant, which they made into herbal teas and assessed the effects on both breast and prostate cancers. They found that a tea made from the leaves decreased the growth of breast cancer cells while a tea made from the root blocked the ability of cancer cells to invade healthy breast tissue and healthy prostate tissue.

In another study published in the online medical journal PLoS One, researchers found that an extract of dandelion root was able to selectively and efficiently kill cancer cells without toxicity to healthy cells. They concluded that dandelion root and other natural medicines have “great potential, as non-toxic and effective alternatives to conventional modes of chemotherapy available today.”

According to a study published in Molecular Carcinogenesis, one of the ways that dandelion root seems to work is by making cancer cells more vulnerable to being destroyed through the body’s natural process known as apoptosis, which causes cancer cells to self-destruct. The study also found that dandelion root seems to increase the effectiveness of other cancer treatments used alongside it.

The studies use either dandelion root tinctures (alcohol extracts) or dandelion root or leaf tea to obtain their results. In my experience the dandelion root tinctures tend to be more potent. Choose a reputable brand of dandelion tincture for best results. Follow package instructions or work with a qualified herbalist.

Another way to reap the health benefits of dandelion root involves roasting dandelion root at 200 degrees for 2 hours or until completely dry and then grinding in a coffee grinder. Add a tablespoon or two to almond or coconut milk and a dash of stevia, blend and pour over ice for a delicious, naturally anti-cancer iced beverage. Alternatively, many health food stores carry roasted dandelion root.


8 Amazing Benefits of Dandelion Tea for Your Health

(NDTV Food)

When you think of dandelion, you probably picture a pesky weed. But did you know that the plant has long been used in herbal medicine? You can drink an infusion made of the plant’s leaves or of roasted dandelion roots. Shalini Manglani, Nutritionist and Wellness Consultant, Bangalore, says, “The roots and leaves of dandelion are dried and used to make dandelion tea, and can benefit your health myriad ways.” Dr. Gargi Sharma, a Delhi-based Nutritionist, says, “Dandelion tea is rich in vitamin A, C and D. It contains high amounts of zinc, iron and magnesium.”

Here are 8 health benefits of dandelion tea:

1. Good for Digestion

“Dandelion tea can have many positive effects on your digestive system. It improves appetite and soothes digestive ailments,” says Dr. Ritika Samaddar, Head of Dietetics at the Max Super Speciality Hospital. “According to various studies, dandelions aid our digestive system by maintaining the proper flow of bile. Dandelion tea helps with mineral absorption and soothes the stomach lining,” says Dr. Manoj K. Ahuja, Fortis Hospitals.

2. Detoxifies the Liver

The role of our liver is to produce bile (which helps enzymes in the body break down fats into fatty acids) and also to filter and detoxify our blood. “The vitamins and nutrients present in dandelions help in cleansing and maintaining the proper functioning of our liver,” says Dr. Ritika Samaddar.

3. Acts as a Diuretic

“Dandelion tea has a natural diuretic effect as it helps in removing excessive fluid from the body and thus relieves bloating. It allows your liver to eliminate toxins,” says Dr. Ritika.

4. Reduces Water Weight

“According to a 2009 study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, participants showed a significant increase in frequency of urination after the first two doses of Dandelion tea. Water weight, and subsequent bloating went down,” says Dr. Manglani.

5. Powerhouse of Antioxidants

“Dandelion tea is packed with antioxidants. Antioxidants are substances that help in preventing certain types of cell damage. The body uses antioxidants to fight free radical damage, which is very dangerous for the body’s tissues and is connected to cancer and premature aging. Luckily, drinking dandelion tea helps the body avoid cell damage from free radicals,” says Dr. Ahuja.

6. Fights Diabetes

“Various studies have shown that dandelion tea lowers levels of blood sugar and can in turn treat diabetes. It removes excess sugar that is stored in the body due to its diuretic properties and helps in stimulating the production of insulin from the pancreas. It is a great way to fight diabetes naturally,” adds Dr. Manglani.

7. Treats Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)

Dr. Gargi Sharma says, “Dandelion tea can help prevent urinary tract infections, as well as bladder disorders, kidney problems and possibly even cysts on reproductive organs. A specific combination of dandelion root and leaf extracts of another herb called Uva Ursi (that can be taken orally) helps treat UTIs in women. In this combination, Uva Ursi is used to kill bacteria, and dandelion tea is used because of its ability to stimulate urine production and fight infection.”

8. Fights Cancer

According to Dr. Sharma, dandelion tea contains anti-cancerous properties. A study conducted in 2011 by the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of Windsor in Canada found that dandelion root tea was effective in killing different types of cancer as a result of its free radical-fighting abilities.

Note: “Before you begin to use dandelion tea medicinally, you may want to discuss it with your doctor - especially if you’re pregnant or have an irritable bowel,” warns Dr. Manglani.


Dandelion Greens are Edible and Linked to Health Benefits

(Heal With Food)

Traditionally, dandelions have been seen as an unwelcome, invasive weed in the vegetable garden. But as the interest in edible wild plants grows, the perception of dandelion greens among health-conscious gardeners begins to change. You see, young dandelion greens are completely edible, and eating these strong-tasting greens in salads or consuming them in the form of naturally caffeine-free dandelion leaf tea can offer some interesting health benefits. Dandelion greens are supercharged with a slew of health-giving nutrients and phytochemicals, including carotenoids, vitamin C, vitamin E, inulin fiber, vitamin K, several B vitamins, potassium, calcium and iron – and that's just to mention a few of the beneficial compounds these underappreciated medicinal supergreens contain.

6 Health Benefits of Dandelion Leaves (as Tea or as Food)

Here's a lowdown of the potential health benefits of fresh dandelion greens and herbal infusions made from dried dandelion leaves, ranging from diuretic, detoxifying, and acne-fighting properties to protection against eye diseases, cardiovascular illnesses, and intestinal problems:

Dandelion greens contain inulin, a prebiotic fiber that feeds 'friendly' gut bacteria

If you are a regular visitor to HealWithFood.org, you may already know that along with chicory root, burdock root, sunchokes, salsify and yacon root, dandelion root is one of the best natural sources of inulin in the world. But according to a study published in The Journal of Nutrition in 1999, also dandelion greens – whether eaten raw or cooked – contain significant amounts of inulin.

But what exactly is inulin, and why is it considered so good for you?

Simply put, inulin is a prebiotic fiber that promotes the growth of bifidobacteria in the gut. Bifidobacteria, in turn, are beneficial bacteria that are thought to boost gut health through a number of mechanisms, including by destroying 'un-friendly' intestinal bacteria, facilitating bowel movement through its mild laxative effects, and improving the host's immune function. There is also some evidence suggesting that bifidobacteria may reduce the levels of certain colonic enzymes that convert pro-carcinogenic substances into carcinogens (cancer-causing substances).

Diuretic properties proven by studies

Dandelion leaf tea has a long history of use as diuretic in folk medicine, but now there is also scientific evidence to support the use of dandelion leaves as a natural diuretic. A pilot study published in the August 2009 issue of the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine found that an ethanol extract of fresh leaves of the Common Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) resulted in significant increases in both urinary frequency and volume in human volunteers. Great news for those who suffer from pre-menstrual bloating, cellulite or water retention in general!

Dandelion leaf tea – a popular detox drink

Many folk healers and practitioners of modern herbal medicine believe dandelion leaves can detoxify the body by cleansing the liver and gallbladder. This has led to the use of dandelion products, particularly dandelion leaf tea, as a treatment for health problems linked to a sluggish liver, including fatigue, constipation, and headaches. However, at the writing of this article, scientific studies evaluating the potential health benefits of dandelion greens on the liver and gallbladder are still scant.

Dandelion may also offer some benefits for the skin

In herbal medicine, foods that are said to detoxify the liver are also thought to be good for the skin. This assumption has led to the wide use of dandelion leaf tea as a treatment for acne, and many people who use dandelion leaf tea as a natural acne remedy swear by its beneficial effects on the skin. While no scientific study conducted to date has neither proven nor disproven that dandelion leaves can fight acne, analysis of the nutritional composition of dandelion reveals that this unsung superfood is loaded with potential anti-acne nutrients. Just one cup of chopped, raw dandelion greens (about 55 grams or 2 oz) provides a whopping 112% of the Daily Value for vitamin A (in the form of carotenoids) and 9% of the Daily Value for vitamin E. In addition, dandelion greens contain extremely high levels of vitamin C – 19.3 mg or 32% of the Daily Value per one cup of chopped greens. Vitamin C plays a key role in maintaining healthy skin by stimulating collagen production and by providing antioxidant protection.

Carotenoids in dandelion greens are good for your eyes

In addition to providing benefits for your skin, the carotenoids in dandelion greens are also good for your eyes. And, as dandelion greens are packed with more carotenoids than an equivalent amount of carrots, they may well be one of the best green smoothie ingredients or salad ingredients for people who are looking for natural ways to reduce their risk of developing eye-related health problems, including macular degeneration. A case-control study published in the November 1994 edition of The Journal of the American Medical Association reported that those in the highest quintile of carotenoid intake had a 43% lower risk for age-related macular degeneration, a leading cause of blindness in the UK and US.

Superfood packed with heart healthy nutrients

Supercharged with both vitamin C and vitamin K, dandelion greens may also provide significant health benefits for people who are looking to reduce their risk of heart disease or other cardiovascular illnesses. A study published in the April 2004 issue of the Journal of the American College of Nutrition found that study participants who received a daily Vitamin C supplement showed a 24% drop in their plasma CRP (C-reactive protein) levels after just two months, indicative of a significant reduction in heart disease risk. The vitamin K in dandelion greens, in turn, may help protect cardiovascular health by pushing calcium into the bones, instead of directing it into the arteries.

Where to Get Dandelion Leaves (and What to Keep in Mind)

Fresh greens: Although dandelion leaves are not usually sold in supermarkets or at farmers' markets, you shouldn't have much trouble finding fresh dandelion greens as these edible greens grow wild in almost every corner of the world. If you're planning to pick wild dandelion greens for consumption as food, only collect leaves from an area that has not been exposed to pesticides, herbicides, or pollution from traffic and exhaust fumes. It is also easy to grow dandelion greens in containers, even indoors.

Dried leaves for tea: If you are DIY-inclined, pick young, chemical-free dandelion leaves in Spring and dry them in a food dehydrator (HealWithFood.org recommends using a stainless steel food dehydrator). You can also buy dandelion leaf tea in many health food stores (and even in some supermarkets) as well as online. The online retailer Amazon, for example, sells Celebration Herbals' organic dandelion leaf tea here ( for US residents) and here ( for UK shoppers).


Why you should be adding dandelion greens to your healthy meal planning

By Ellise Pierce (Special Contributor)

One day while walking our dogs at Parc de Saint-Cloud outside of Paris, my friend Catherine told me about a simple salad that her father always made in the early spring. He'd gather fresh dandelion leaves growing wild in Switzerland where he lived, and toss them with bright lemony vinaigrette.

Finally I decided to try this out — not the gathering of wild leaves, since I saw them for sale for less than $2 a bunch at Sara's Market in Richardson — but the salad, since it was spring.

So-called because of its pointed tooth-like leaves, the name dandelion is from the French dent de lion, which literally means "tooth of the lion."

But its bite is only in its slight bitterness, and the benefits are numerous. Loaded with vitamins A and C, along with calcium and iron, dandelion is known to help problems with our bones, liver, diabetes, urinary tract and overall digestion, and even skin (the white milky sap from the stem is an antifungal/germicidal/insecticidal). Also high in potassium, dandelion can help lower blood pressure because it's also a diuretic. The list goes on. Bottom line, it's one of the healthiest greens you can eat.

Here's how to cook it:

• Wilt it

Like other greens — spinach, kale, mustard, collard, turnip and beet greens (and any others I'm forgetting, my apologies) — wash then toss your dandelion in a skillet with some olive oil, onion and a little salt and pepper, and serve alongside whatever you're in the mood for. It pairs as easily with fish as with chicken, beef or pork.

• Steep it

Pour hot water over dandelion leaves for a quick tea and add honey and lemon, if you'd like.

• Quiche it

Add a bunch of dandelion that you've roughly chopped and wilted about halfway (it'll finish cooking in the oven) to a quiche, along with softened leeks for sweetness — or ramps, if they're are available.

• Dandelion Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette
- Ingredients:
•• Zest of 1 lemon
•• 1 tablespoon lemon juice
•• 3 tablespoons Champagne vinegar
•• Sea salt and pepper
•• 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
•• 1/2 cup grapeseed oil
•• 1 bunch dandelion, rinsed and dried
•• Shaved Parmesan

Directions:

Make the Lemon Vinaigrette: Put the lemon zest, lemon juice, Champagne vinegar, salt and pepper to taste, Dijon mustard and grapeseed oil in a jam jar and give it a good shake. Taste for seasonings. Set this aside.

For the dandelion salad, how you treat each leaf will depend on how old or young they are. If they're young and tender, I throw the whole leaf in the bowl; if they're older and with strong stems, I simply snap off the leaves where the tenderness stops, toss that into the bowl, then remove the triangular leaves by hand and throw them in, too, leaving the tough stems out. Sprinkle with sea salt and pepper to taste, drizzle with a little bit of the Lemon Vinaigrette, toss and taste again. Add some shaved Parmesan on top. Serve.

Makes 2-4 servings.





3 Health Benefits of Dandelion

By Natan Gendelman

Most commonly thought of as only an annoying weed that overtakes your garden, dandelion is also rich in vitamins and nutrients that impart a variety of health benefits. It has been used for its medicinal properties throughout history and also as flavor additives to food dishes and teas! Let’s look at a few reasons why you should start adding dandelion to your diet today:

• Natural Cleanse & Detoxification: Since dandelion is a powerful diuretic, it helps clear out toxins that build up in the kidneys, liver, and urinary tract! Its disinfectant properties also help prevent unwanted microbial growth in the urinary system. Along with cleansing the liver, dandelion may help in restoring the liver’s electrolyte balance.

• High Blood Pressure: Because diuretics are effective at reducing high blood pressure, those who suffer from this condition may want to consider adding dandelion to their diet. Dandelion increases urination and also helps reduce cholesterol levels, both of which decrease blood pressure levels. The high fiber and potassium content found in dandelions are also linked to proper blood pressure regulation.

• Cancer Prevention: Dandelion is packed full of antioxidants such as vitamin A, vitamin C, and luteolin, which helps to reduce the risk of cancer by protecting our body from the damaging effects of free radicals. In a 2008 clinical study published in the International Journal of Oncology, dandelion was found to decrease the growth of breast cancer cells and block the invasion of prostate cancer cells. Other studies have been done that show dandelion may confer protection against other types of cancers as well, such as cancers of the skin, pancreas, and colon.

Please note that although dandelion is generally considered safe to consume, you should consult your health care provider before taking it in combination with other medications and supplements.

The Benefits of Dandelions: From Cultivation to Cooking

By Michelle Schoffro Cook

Once an unsightly weed, this herb has many health and culinary applications. Find out how to make the most out of dandelion greens, roots and blossoms.

A Brief History of Dandelion

An Arabian doctor first recorded dandelion’s curative properties in the 10th century. Dandelion was once called “piddle bed” because of its ability to increase urine flow. The French call it a similar name: pissenlit. For those who don’t speak French, en lit means “in bed.” I’ll leave you to figure out the rest.

As far back as 1880, studies have shown that dandelion is an effective treatment for hepatitis and swelling of the liver. Another German study proved that dandelion root improved jaundice and reduced gallstones. Newer research shows that dandelion root protects the liver against some harmful toxins, such as the carbon tetrachloride that is used in cleaning products and building materials.

Growing Dandelion

I probably don’t have to give you any advice on how to grow dandelion, other than to stop using pesticides if you’re using them, and to cut your grass less often. By cutting your grass less frequently you’ll increase the likelihood that the yellow dandelion flowers will go to seed (the puff-ball type heads). When that happens the wind blows them and helps ensure they increase in numbers in your yard.

Harvesting and Using Dandelion

Due to potential pesticides and pollutants, I only recommend harvesting dandelion from your lawn if you live away from high traffic areas and are certain the lawn hasn’t been sprayed in several years. If that rules out eating dandelions from your yard, you can likely find the greens at farmers markets.

Dandelion greens taste best when using the small, young leaves—note that these leaves show up before the telltale flowers. By the time the yellow flowers have arrived, the leaves are large and bitter. Dandelion greens can be added raw to salads or sautéed with a little garlic and oil. Alternatively, they can be hung upside down until the leaves are dry and then stored for up to a year for use in tea.

On the other hand, if you’re after dandelion root, look for the largest plants. I’ve found it easiest to harvest the roots after a rainfall when the ground is still soft and the roots come out whole. To improve the flavor of the roots, roast them at 200 degrees for an hour or two, until they have browned. You may then grind them up using a high-powered blender or coffee grinder, and add them to smoothies. The roasted root tastes a bit like coffee and chocolate. I’m a huge fan and drink a daily smoothie made with almond milk, a handful of raw cashews and a tablespoon of roasted dandelion root powder.

To take purchased dandelion supplements for any of the conditions that follow, try 1 to 2 teaspoons of dandelion root extract or 500 to 2,000 mg via capsules daily. You can also make a decoction—a type of tea made by boiling (rather than steeping as you might with leaves or flowers) the roots, stems or seeds of herbs to extract their medicinal properties. Use 2 teaspoons of powdered, roasted dandelion root per cup of water. Bring to a boil and simmer for 45 minutes. Make a large enough batch that it won’t just evaporate during the cooking time, such as enough for three days (3⁄4 cup powdered root boiled in 9 cups of water), which is the maximum recommended storage time in the fridge. Drink 1 cup three times daily. A third option is to use 1 teaspoon of alcohol-based dandelion tincture three times daily. You need only take dandelion in one form, not all three at the same time.

Blood Sugar Balancer and Diabetes Support: Dandelion contains the natural substance alpha-glucosidase, which is nature’s blood sugar reducer. It has been used for many years to treat diabetes. People with diabetes should work with a physician to monitor blood sugar levels, as dandelion tea is so effective it often helps people reduce their medications.

Energizer: In a study published in the journal Molecules, researchers found that animals given dandelion had a reduction in fatigue and a boost in immunity.

Anti-Cancer Powerhouse: Dandelion might show the greatest promise in its ability to fight cancer. One of the most exciting studies about dandelion’s anti-cancer abilities was published in the journal Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Canadian scientists found that after 48 hours of exposure to the dandelion extract, human cancer cells began to die off. The study also found that dandelion was effective on cancer cells that were resistant to chemotherapy. Other research published in the International Journal of Oncology found that a dandelion leaf tea decreased the growth of breast cancer cells, while a tea made from the root blocked the ability of cancer cells to invade healthy breast and prostate tissues. In another study published in the online medical journal PLoS One, researchers found that an extract of dandelion root was able to selectively and efficiently kill cancer cells without toxicity to healthy cells. They concluded that dandelion root has “great potential, as nontoxic and effective alternatives to conventional modes of chemotherapy available today.”

Osteoporosis Preventer: Next to cabbage, dandelion shoots (the stems, leaves and flowers) have the highest amount of the bone-building mineral boron. According to the renowned herbalist James Duke, 10 grams (just under 1⁄2 cup) of dried dandelion shoots, taken throughout the day, provides more than 1 mg boron, which most people do not get enough of, along with 200 mg calcium. While that might sound like a lot of dandelion, drinking it as a tea makes it easier to ingest. Plus, calcium in this form is better absorbed than from other sources such as dairy products.


Uses and Benefits of Dandelion

(Step To Health)

The bitter taste of dandelion leaves indicates that they are rich in phytonutrients and are very beneficial to the liver, which helps eliminate toxins.

Its scientific name is Taraxacum Officinale Weber. What a sophisticated name for a wild plant! It is primarily distributed throughout the Northern hemisphere, especially in Europe and America.

It has been cultivated for decades as a vegetable and eaten in salads. It is bitter in taste (even more so than arugula or Belgian endive).

Dandelion is known by its jagged, hard and rough leaves, but most especially for its flower, which is yellow and circular.

The flower is made up of a flowery plume that people oftentimes blow on to make a wish. In nature the wind is responsible for scattering the seeds nearby. That’s why they so commonly grow throughout large expansions of land.

Dandelion contains the following nutrients:

• Carbohydrates
• Vitamin B
• Vitamin C
• Betacarotenes
• Potassium
• Flavonoinds
• Oleic acid
• Linoleic acid
• Tanins
What parts of dandelion are consumed?

Spring is the best time to collect the tender leaf shoots if you want to eat them fresh in a salad. You could also store them in a cloth sack to dry.

The roots are collected during the end of summer or in winter. They are stored in glass containers with a hermetically sealed lid.

The areas that are used include:

The leaves

They’re like spinach and are eaten raw in salads, or cooked as a pie filling, for example. They taste fairly bitter once they reach a certain age, that’s why we advise eating the soft or small sprouts.

Some people drink infusions prepared from dried leaves for medicinal reasons.

The flowers

Before they open, you can pickle them in salt and vinegar, as done with capers. They can then be fried or added fresh to salads. The roots

Once the plant is two years or older (adult) you can begin to cut out part of the root. You can then toast it and use it as a caffeine substitute for making infusions.

What is dandelion good for? Medicinal properties

You already know what plant we’re talking about, so now it’s time to learn about its health benefits… and to start eating it!

Diabetes remedy

In Europe dandelion is frequently used by diabetics. The roots contain easily digested sugars.

Treat kidney and urinary problems

In France, this plant is often called “pissenlit” (which translates directly to “pee in bed”). This is because dandelion has been used for a long time to stimulate the kidneys.

It also helps to tone these organs, to treat urinary tract infections and to eliminate kidney stones. It is an excellent diuretic that does not cause potassium loss, as with most other diuretics.

Improves the digestive tract

It is a mild laxative, a bitter tonic, which stimulates appetite in patients recovering from illness. It increases bile production and alleviates constipation and gastric disorders.

Leads to a peaceful liver

Dandelion is highly recommended for eliminating toxins that accumulate in the body. Consequently, it is related to good liver health. This herb is used to treat hepatitis, jaundice and cancer or liver tumors.

It also has cleansing properties for the blood and prevents chemical or food intoxication. It also cleanses the blood of fats (cholesterol) and uric acid.

It is a beauty tonic

This plant has been used for several years to treat breakouts, eczema or psoriasis, among other skin conditions.

An infusion can be prepared from one handful of dandelion flowers in one cup of boiling water. Allow to cool and it will be perfect for washing wounds (moisten a cotton ball in it and rub it over the affected area).

Treating anemia

Dandelion has a significant amount if iron in the leaves and can be used to prevent or reduce anemia. It also allows the body to recover after being iron deficient for a long time.

It is great for pregnant women that generally develop anemia during gestation.

Helps with eye health

Individuals that suffer from poor night vision or are likely to suffer from some sort of macular deformation can consume dandelion to add vitamin A, beta-carotenes, and helenin to their diets.

These 3 nutrients stimulate the eyes’ ability to capture light, and they protect vision.

Treat varicose veins and hemorrhoids

This is because of the tannins in this plant. It provides relaxing and calming properties to alleviate external or peripheral circulatory problems, like varicose veins and hemorrhoids.

In these cases, it would be a good idea to take a seated bath with the liquid made from seeping one handful of dandelion leaves in water, or moistening a cotton ball in the tea and spreading it over the area.

Side effects and contraindications for dandelion

There generally aren’t very many adverse side effects to consuming this plant, excluding skin allergies or eczema. If you consume a lot of dandelion, you could experience diarrhea, heartburn, or stomach discomfort.

Fresh stalks could cause intoxication in children. It is not advisable to use dandelion tinctures during pregnancy or nursing due to its high alcohol levels. In this case, it’s best to consume a small portion of the plant either fresh, or dried.


Home Remedies for Kidney Stones: What Works?

By Emily Cronkleton (Medically Reviewed by Debra Rose Wilson, PhD, MSN, RN, IBCLC, AHN-BC, CHT)
Staying hyrdated is key

Drinking plenty of fluids is a vital part of passing kidney stones and preventing new stones from forming. Not only does the liquid flush out toxins, it helps move stone and grit through your urinary tract.

Although water alone may be enough to do the trick, adding certain ingredients can be beneficial. Be sure to drink one 8-ounce glass of water immediately after drinking any flavored remedy. This can help move the ingredients through your system.

Talk to your doctor before getting started with any of the home remedies listed below. They can assess whether home treatment is right for you or if it could lead to additional complications.

If you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, use these home remedies with caution. Your doctor can determine whether a juice may cause side effects for you or your baby.

1. Water

When passing a stone, upping your water intake can help speed up the process. Strive for 12 glasses of water per day instead of the usual eight.

Once the stone passes, you should continue to drink eight to 12 glasses of water each day. Dehydration is one of the main risk factors for kidney stones, and the last thing you want is for more to form.

Pay attention to the color of your urine. It should be a very light, pale yellow. Dark yellow urine is a sign of dehydration.

2. Lemon juice

You can add freshly squeezed lemons to your water as often as you like. Lemons contain citrate, which is a chemical that prevents calcium stones from forming. Citrate can also break up small stones, allowing them to pass more easily.

Lemon juice has numerous other health benefits. For example, it helps inhibit bacteria growth.

3. Basil juice

Basil contains acetic acid, which helps to break down the kidney stones, and helps to reduce pain. It also lowers uric acid levels, which reduces your risk for future stones.

Use fresh or dried basil leaves to make a tea and drink several cups per day. You may also juice fresh basil or add it to a smoothie.

You shouldn’t use medicinal basil juice for more than 6 weeks at a time. Extended use may lead to:

• low blood sugar
• low blood pressure
• increased bleeding

4. Apple cider vinegar

Apple cider vinegar contains citric acid. Citric acid helps to dissolve kidney stones, as well as alkalize blood and urine. In addition to flushing out the kidneys, apple cider vinegar can help ease pain caused by the stones.

To reap these benefits, add 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar to 6­­-8 ounces of purified water. Drink this mixture throughout the day.

You shouldn’t consume more than one 8-ounce glass of this mixture per day. If ingested in larger amounts, apple cider vinegar can lead to low levels of potassium and osteoporosis.

People with diabetes should exercise caution when drinking this mixture. Monitor your blood sugar levels carefully throughout the day.

You shouldn’t drink this mixture if you’re taking:

• insulin
• digoxin (Digox)
• diuretics, such as spironolactone (Aldactone)

5. Celery juice

Celery juice clears away toxins that contribute to kidney stone formation. It also helps flush out the body so you can pass the stone.

Blend one or more celery stalks with water, and drink the juice throughout the day.

You shouldn’t drink this mixture if you have:

• any bleeding disorder
• low blood pressure
• a scheduled surgery

You also shouldn’t drink this mixture if you’re taking:

• levothyroxine (Synthroid)
• lithium (Lithane)
• medications that increase sun sensitivity, such as isotretinoin (Sotret)
• sedative medications, such as alprazolam (Xanax)

6. Pomegranate juice

Pomegranate juice can help improve overall kidney function, as well as flush stones and other toxins from your system.

It also lowers your urine’s acidity level. Lower acidity levels reduce your risk for future kidney stones.

There’s no limit to how much pomegranate juice you can drink throughout the day.

You shouldn’t drink pomegranate juice if you’re taking:

• medications changed by the liver
• blood pressure medications, such as chlorothiazide (Diuril)
• rosuvastatin (Crestor)

7. Kidney bean broth

The broth from cooked kidney beans helps improve overall urinary and kidney health. It also helps dissolve and flush out the stones. Simply strain the liquid from cooked beans and drink a few glasses throughout the day.

Other natural remedies

The following home remedies may contain ingredients that aren’t already in your kitchen. You should be able to buy them from your local health food store or online.

8. Dandelion root juice

Dandelion root is a kidney tonic that stimulates the production of bile. This helps to eliminate waste, increase urine output, and improve digestion. Dandelions have vitamins (A, B, C, D) and minerals such as potassium, iron, and zinc.

You can make fresh dandelion juice or buy it as a tea. If you make it fresh, you may also add orange peel, ginger, and apple to taste. Drink 3­-4 cups throughout the day.

Some people experience heartburn when they eat dandelion or its parts.

You shouldn’t drink this mixture if you’re taking:

• blood thinners
• antacids
• antibiotics
• lithium (Lithane)
• diuretics, such as spironolactone (Aldactone)

If you are taking medications, talk to your doctor before taking dandelion root extract as it can interact with many medications.

9. Wheatgrass juice

Wheatgrass is packed with many nutrients and has long been used to enhance health. Wheatgrass increases urine flow to help pass the stones. It also contains vital nutrients that help cleanse the kidneys.

You can drink 2-8 ounces per day. To prevent side effects, start with the smallest amount possible and gradually work your way up to 8 ounces.

If fresh wheatgrass juice isn’t available, you can take powdered wheatgrass supplements as directed.

Taking wheatgrass on an empty stomach can reduce your risk for nausea. In some cases, it may cause appetite loss and constipation.

10. Horsetail juice

Horsetail increases urine flow to help to flush out kidney stones and can soothe swelling and inflammation. It also has antibacterial and antioxidant properties that aid in overall urinary health.

The Cleveland Clinic warns against its use. You shouldn’t use horsetail for more than 6 weeks at a time. There are dangers of seizures, low B vitamins, and loss of potassium.

You shouldn’t use horsetail if you if you take lithium (Lithane), diuretics, or heart medications such as digoxin. Horsetail is not recommended for children and pregnant or breastfeeding women. Horsetail contains nicotine and should not be taken if you are using a nicotine patch or trying to quit smoking.

You also shouldn’t drink this mixture if you have:

• alcoholism
• diabetes
• low potassium levels
• low thiamine levels

See your doctor

See your doctor if you’re unable to pass your stone within six weeks, or if you begin experiencing severe symptoms that include:

• severe pain
• blood in your urine
• fever
• chills
• nausea
• vomiting

Your doctor will determine whether you need medication or any other therapy to help you pass the stone.

The bottom line

Although it may be uncomfortable, it’s possible to pass a kidney stone on your own.

You can take over-the-counter pain relievers to lessen any pain you may be experiencing. These includes acetaminophen (Tylenol), ibuprofen (Advil), or naproxen (Aleve).

Be sure to continue treatment until the stone passes. Once you pass a kidney stone, you may save it to take to your doctor for testing. To save the stone you will need to strain your urine. They can determine what kind of stone it is and help develop a targeted prevention plan.

You might add these remedies to your usual regimen and continue use after the stone passes. This may help prevent more stones from forming but always talk to your doctor before taking medications or herbs.


10 Health Benefits of Drinking Dandelion Tea

By Brent Chittenden

When the words “dandelion tea” come up, there’s a good chance many of you may just tune out. After all, it sounds like some hippy concoction made by an aunt who may be still trapped in the ’60s. But with so much talk about the nutritional benefits of dandelion tea, others may be wondering if the yellow weed that grows during spring is actually that healthy.

The truth of it is dandelion tea has a number of health benefits that are worth checking out. Dandelions are full of vitamins and minerals that are great for you as well. Before you begin to wage your springtime war against the plant in your backyard, give the rest of this article a read; you may end up picking the dandelions instead. We delve into dandelion tea benefits, dandelion tea nutrition, and all of the good that can come out of dandelion tea, along with some possible side effects.

Dandelion Nutrition Facts
Dandelion greens, Raw
Nutrient/ Vitamin ------% of RDA/100g
Dietary Fiber----------------14%
Vitamin B6-------------------13%
Vitamin C--------------------58%
Vitamin A-------------------203%
Vitamin K-------------------973%
Iron---------------------------17%
Calcium----------------------19%
Riboflavin-------------------15%

According to SELF Nutrition Data, dandelion leaves and roots are an excellent source of vitamins and minerals, especially vitamins A and K. They are also low in calories, carbohydrates, and fat. It’s astonishing that this plant that we consider a weed actually contains so many nutrients that are good for us.

Granted, some of this nutrition value may be lost when the leaves and roots are dried and turned into tea form, but on a whole, that’s a whole lot of goodness you are putting into your cup. But how do these vitamins, nutrients, and minerals benefit you? We’re glad you asked.

10 Ways Dandelion Tea Benefits You and Your Health

Now that you know more about the nutritional value within dandelion greens, it’s time to learn the benefits of dandelion tea. The benefits of dandelion tea require more research-based evidence as most tests have been performed on animals and not humans. However, most benefits are based on the properties and nutritional facts of dandelion and human experiences as this weed has been consumed by humans for ages.

• 1 Vitamin K, which is abundant in dandelion, is very important in the realms of cardiovascular and bone health. Vitamin K is one of the main vitamins used in blood clotting and bone mineralization. Maintaining high levels of vitamin K in the system could also be useful during menstrual bleeding. Preliminary research studies suggest that vitamin K may also help in cancer prevention, particularly for colon, stomach, nasal, prostate, and oral cancers. However, more scientific evidence is needed to support these claims.

• 2 Vitamin A, also found in great amounts in dandelions, is great as a helper vitamin for things like preventing premature aging, loss of vision, and respiratory infections.

• 3 Dandelions and dandelion tea may be helpful with maintaining your liver. Studies suggest the vitamins and minerals in dandelions are good at not only helping to cleanse the liver but also with the secretion of bile.

• 4 Vitamin C found in dandelions could aid mineral absorption and reduce inflammation around the liver.

• 5 Dandelions are rich in antioxidants; this aspect is currently under study for their potential skin care benefits and ability to reduce cellular damage.

• 6 Dandelion tea may also work as a prevention method for urinary tract infections in women and increase the quantity of breast milk in new mothers.

• 7 Dandelions help stimulate appetite and are used to cure upset stomach.

• 8 Dandelions may help normalize blood sugar and cholesterol levels.

• 9 Dandelions help boost the immune system because of their antioxidant properties.

• 10 Dandelion roots help improve the digestive system and are a mild laxative.

With a plant like dandelion, the future possibilities may be limitless. But for the here and now, they can do a pretty good job of helping out your body’s circulatory system. Now the big question is how do you pick the dandelions for dandelion tea? Dandelion Selection

Picking dandelions for your dandelion tea is more about common sense than anything else. Avoid fields and plants where pesticides may have been used as they may give your tea an unplanned and unwanted kick. Focus on young plants with yellow flowers as the older the dandelion gets, the more bitter the plant becomes to taste.

If you want to use the roots as well as the leaves, dig up the entire plant; don’t just pull on the top. If you want to keep them fresher longer, wrap the roots in a damp paper towel before placing the plant in the fridge.

Now that you’ve selected your plants, time to make the tea.

How to Make Dandelion Tea

The first step is to rinse off the dandelion plant. This is not only to remove any dirt or bugs you might have brought with it, but also to help remove any pesticides that you may be unaware of. After that, there are different ways to make dandelion tea. Dandelion Root Tea (fresh root)

Separate the root from the rest of the plant. Boil a quart of water. Chop the dandelion root roughly, and add 2 teaspoons of the chopped root to the boiling water. Cover. Lower the heat and allow the root to simmer for a minute. Remove the concoction from the heat and let it steep for about 40 minutes. Strain into a teapot and serve.

Dandelion Flower Tea

Collect a few handfuls of dandelion flowers from your previously washed plant. Pull the petals away from the base of the flower and place them in a bowl. Drop a handful of flower petals for each cup of tea in the teapot. Pour boiling water over the top, and let the tea steep for about three minutes. Serve with honey to taste.

Important: Possible Side Effects

Is dandelion tea healthy? While eating dandelions and drinking dandelion tea is perfectly safe for the majority of us, there are a few possible dandelion tea side effects that you should be aware of. Like any other food or flowers from the same species such as sunflower or daisies, you may be allergic to dandelions, so take heed to any symptoms that might occur when handling dandelion plants or drinking dandelion tea.

Dandelions may also affect how your body absorbs some medications and antibiotics. According to research by the University of Maryland Medical Center, dandelions may cause heartburn and skin irritations in some people.

People with kidney or gall bladder issues should avoid having dandelions in any form, especially if they are under medication for the same. Dandelion leaves work as a diuretic; therefore, if you are on certain medications such as blood thinners, antacids, or diuretics, they may interact with dandelion and be thrown out of your body faster through urination.

If you are on diabetes medications to control your sugar, consuming dandelion may further lower your sugar levels causing hypoglycemia. If you aren’t sure about whether dandelion may affect you, consult your physician.

Dandelion Tea: Worth A Try

Given a number of benefits that dandelion tea might be able to provide you combined with how easy it is to make, you may want to consider not spraying your backyard this year and turning it into a small garden for your new tea stash instead.

And while the taste is not to everyone’s liking in tea form, you can also use dandelions as part of a salad and in other cooking dishes; and they are also an important part of bees’ natural environment. With all of these benefits in one plant, it may be worth your time to investigate if it is suitable for you.


Dandelion: Weed or Medicinal Powerhouse?

By Michelle Schoffro Cook

Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) has a bad reputation as nothing more than a pesky week. Like most other weeds that people regard as a mere nuisance, dandelion has scientifically-proven medicinal properties and an extensive history of use.

An Arabian doctor first recorded dandelion’s curative properties in the tenth century. Dandelion was once called “piddle bed” because of its ability to increase urine flow. The French has a less tactful name for the plant as well: “pissenlit.” For those of you who don’t speak any French I’ll let you know that “en lit” means “in bed.” I’ll leave you to figure out the rest.

The Australian Journal of Medical Herbalism cites research supporting the liver-regenerating properties of dandelion, particularly in cases of jaundice, liver swelling, hepatitis, and indigestion.

In a study published in the journal Molecules, researchers found that animals given dandelion had a reduction in fatigue and a boost in immunity.

According to Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, author of The Fat Flush Plan, dandelion root aids the liver and fat metabolism in two ways: it stimulates the liver to produce more bile to send to the gallbladder, and at the same time causes the gallbladder to contract and release its stored bile, assisting with fat metabolism.

Some health professionals advise taking dandelion root tea for people on antidepressant medications since these drugs can impede the liver’s detoxification pathways.

According to research cited in The Purification Plan, dandelion helps break down toxins before they have a chance to damage cells and may therefore be useful for cancer prevention.

In a study published in Advances in Hematology, researchers found that dandelion significantly increased both red and white blood cells, making it a possible aid in the treatment of anemia, blood purification, immune system modulation.

Due to pesticides and pollutants I don’t recommend picking dandelion root from your lawn unless you live away from traffic and are confident of the land’s organic status. You can take one to two teaspoons of dandelion root extract or supplement with 500 to 2000 mg daily in capsules for two weeks to help cleanse your liver.

Dandelion greens tend to work best on the urinary tract while the root works on the liver. If you choose to incorporate dandelion greens into your diet, check out my article 10 Sensation Spring Superfoods.

If you plan to use the root to give your liver a boost, a typical dose is 500 to 2000 mg of dandelion root in capsule form. You can also make a decoction (a type of herbal medicinal tea) by using two teaspoons of powdered dandelion root per cup of water. Bring to a boil and simmer for 45 minutes. Make a large enough batch that it won’t just evaporate during the cooking time. Drink one cup three times daily. A third option is to take one teaspoon of alcohol-based tincture, three times daily. Be sure to consult with a naturally-minded doctor if you suffer from any health conditions or if you are taking prescription drugs as some drugs can interfere with herbal medicines.

We spend billions of dollars searching for the one miracle pill that will cure what ails us while Mother Nature has provided medicine right beneath our noses. If we’d only stop killing the “weeds” we contend with on our lawns and instead cultivate these powerful healing herbs we’d be much healthier (that is, unless you live in a high traffic area or spray your lawn with toxic pesticides).


Do Dandelions Have Fibrous Roots?

By Cynthia Domenghini

Dandelions (Taraxacum officinale) are plagued with a bad reputation. Dandelions are perennials that grow in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 3 through 10. This persistent weed, considered undesirable by many, has numerous useful attributes including the deep root system. Learning to live with dandelions may be more beneficial than struggling to get rid of them.

Root Types

Fibrous roots have a fine texture and grow just beneath the soil surface branching off in many directions. A taproot is a single, thick root that grows deeper into the soil. There may be some lateral growth of smaller roots from a taproot, although it is more limited than that of fibrous roots. If a taproot is broken it may stop growing downward and instead form a fibrous root system by extending smaller roots laterally.

Dandelion Roots

Dandelions grow from a lengthy taproot that, when severed, can grow into multiple new plants. This taproot is one of the reasons dandelions receive such negative attention. A single, fleshy dandelion taproot can extend many feet into the ground with small, hairlike roots growing from the sides. The ability of these roots to grow downward to such great lengths makes them better able to compete with plants over water and nutrients. It also enables them to thrive in many different climates and conditions.

Dandelion Control

The deep taproot of dandelions makes removal from the garden difficult. When extracting dandelions, if at least four to five inches of the taproot aren't removed with the above-ground growth, new shoots will develop on the broken root segments and continue to flourish. Tools such as a weeding fork can be used to penetrate deeper into the soil. However, one of the best removal methods is hand pulling the weeds when the soil is moist so more of the root can be removed without breaking. Monitor the area regularly and remove the dandelions when they are young before the root has a chance to extend too deep. The population of dandelions can be somewhat controlled by mowing or plucking flowers from the stalks before they go to seed.

Living with Dandelions

Dandelions do have some redeeming value. Each part of the dandelion plant is edible. Young leaves are sometimes used in salads along with the flowers which can also be used to make dandelion wine. The roots are used in certain medicines and coffee. By preventing dandelions from dispersing seeds, they are less likely to overtake a garden or lawn and can be admired for their benefits rather than despised for their very presence.


Can You Eat Dandelion Greens Raw?

By Alissa Fleck

People may not care for weeds in their gardens, but dandelions—and certain other weeds—are edible and can be used for a whole host of culinary purposes. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics notes that edible wild greens, like dandelion, taste good, are low in calories and are packed with vitamins. Dandelions in particular are high in calcium and vitamins A and C.

Eating and Preparation

Dandelion, like other wild greens, can be prepared in a variety of ways. They can be sautéed in oil -- for use in casseroles, for example -- or eaten raw in salads and sandwiches. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics does note, however, that wild greens can have an overpowering flavor and should be taste-tested beforehand. Dandelion retains its health benefits whether consumed raw or cooked.

Tasty Options

The Fine Cooking website describes the taste of dandelion greens as earthy, nutty and pleasingly bitter, similar to the taste of endive or radicchio. It recommends pairing dandelion greens with bacon, goat cheese, nuts and lemon to complement the taste. You can eat every part of the dandelion—roots, stems, leaves and flowers. One option is to fry the flowers in a batter and make dandelion fritters. People have also incorporated dandelions into several beverages: grinding the roots for a coffee-like drink, or even making dandelion wine.

Other Edible Wild Greens

Other similar edible wild greens include lambsquarters, amaranth, nettles, purslane and sorrel, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Each of these offers a variety of vitamins and nutrients, though they may be best suited to different culinary preparations than dandelion. Unlike dandelion, for example, lambsquarters is generally prepared cooked, like spinach, and not consumed raw. One cup of this cooked green packs over 100% of your daily vitamin C requirement.

Where to Find your Greens

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics warns against picking your own edible wild greens unless you’re an expert. Not only can these wild greens have potentially hazardous lookalikes in nature, they could contain harmful pesticides. The safest option is picking up your greens at a grocery store or farmer’s market. The Fine Cooking website recommends looking for dandelion bunches that are stiff with dark green leaves, resembling a fine-toothed comb. Stay away from yellow, slimy bunches.

Warning

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics warns that wild greens are high in vitamin K, which can make the blood clot faster. If you're taking blood-thinning medications, you should consume wild greens in careful moderation and only with your doctor's knowledge.



Are Dandelions Annuals or Perennials?

(San Francisco Gate)

Cheerful yellow faces of dandelions (Taraxacum officinale) appear in spring in lawns and roadsides in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 3 through 10. This cosmopolitan weed comes from Europe and Asia. The perennial plant is difficult to control because of the long tap root that can produce new plants from even a 1-inch section of root. Plants reseed easily from the familiar puffball seed heads that children make wishes with.

Plant Characteristics

Dandelions have a rosette of serrated-edge leaves on top of a perennial tap root. The root is usually 6 to 18 inches long. Individual plants can live on for many years, eventually forming thick crowns of leaves 6 to 10 inches wide. Flowers consist of 100 to 300 small, individual tubular yellow flowers aggregated together in a flower head that rises 6 to 24 inches above the ground. The plant belongs in the daisy family.

Control

Because of the long perennial root, hoeing or pulling dandelions doesn't eliminate them. Persistent grubbing out of plants is needed year after year with tools such as dandelion knives. Remove the plants before they start to produce seeds. Since seeds can blow in from other areas from as far away as several miles, new infestations can easily start. Dandelions can crowd out ornamentals and turf and reduce their vigor. If possible, remove dandelions while the plants are young and the roots are small.


How to Grow Dandelions Indoors in Pots

By Eulalia Palomo

Slightly bitter, delicate with the taste of spring and edible from root to flower, the humble dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) is more than just a garden weed. As a salad green, dandelions can be grown indoors in containers year round for a continuous harvest. A perennial, dandelions are hardy in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 3 through 10. They are a non-native, invasive weed, spreading aggressively through abundant self-seeding, but, by containing their seeds, you can keep dandelions from getting away.

1. Fill a 6-inch-deep or deeper pot, which has bottom drainage holes, with moist potting soil. Use a pot at least 4 inches in diameter for a single dandelion, or grow multiple dandelion plants in a large pot.

2. Place dandelion seeds 1 1/2 inches apart on the pot's soil. Sprinkle a little potting soil over each seed until all the seeds are barely covered, about 1/8 inch deep in the soil.

3. Spray the soil with water, dampening the seeds. Place the pot in a bright spot indoors, and keep its soil moist. Dandelion seeds sprout in soil as low as 50 F, but they germinate quicker when the soil temperature is nearer to 77 F. Seedlings should appear above the soil within two weeks after the seeds were sown.

4. Grow dandelion plants in a bright indoor area, such as a sunny porch or a room with natural light. Dandelions grow vigorously in full sun but tolerate partial shade.

5. Pour 2 cups of 8-16-8 or other general purpose fertilizer into 1 gallon of water. Blend the fertilizer and water thoroughly. The result is a concentrated fertilizer mixture.

6. Fertilize the dandelions' soil when the plants are 4 to 6 inches tall then twice each month for the rest of the growing season. Combine 2 tablespoons of the concentrated fertilizer mixture with 1 gallon of water, and use the solution to water the dandelion's soil until it is damp all the way through. Each application of the fertilizer solution replaces one regular watering.

7. Water the dandelions' soil throughout the growing season when the top of the soil dries slightly. Water deeply until excess moisture leaks from the pot's bottom drainage holes.

8. Cut dandelions for salads at their base when they grow 4 to 8 inches tall. As the leaves mature, they become more bitter and tough, but they are edible at any time.

9. Harvest the dandelion flowers when they open fully but before they go to seed and turn white. Cut a flower stalk at its base. If you grow the dandelions predominantly for salad greens, then pinch off the flowers at their bases as soon as the blooms appear.

10. Overwinter dandelions in containers indoors in a bright, frost-free area. Promote leaf growth by continuing to remove the flowers as they appear. Harvest the leaves through winter.

Things You Will Need
• Pot, at least 6 inches deep and with bottom drainage holes
• Potting soil
• Spray bottle
• Ruler
• 8-16-8 or other general-purpose fertilizer
• Disposable measuring cup
• 1-gallon containers with lids
• Disposable tablespoon
• Watering can

Tip

Dandelions are resistant to most pests and diseases. Although fertilizer and water applied at regular intervals encourage lush, rapid growth, dandelions are hardy plants that can tolerate poor soil nutrients and periods of drought.

Start dandelions from seeds anytime of year indoors.

Dandelions grow for multiple seasons in a container if their roots are left in place. Even if you cut back all their leaves and flowers, the plants will sprout again, a familiar growth habit to anyone who has tried to eradicate dandelions. If you dig up the roots for harvest in fall, replant dandelions from seeds in late winter or early spring.



Eating Dandelions

By Melissa Breyer

Pity the American dandelion. In countries across the world the dandelion is considered a delicious vegetable and is consumed with affection–and dandelion has been used for medicinal purposes for centuries. In America, it is most often cursed as an irksome weed and is pulled, poisoned and otherwise generally maligned.

Fortunately, dandelions do have a small and very allegiant cadre of fans here in the States. Along with traditional eaters, a new group of greenmarket enthusiasts, and those interested in foraging and wild greens are taking a shine to dandelions. And for good reason. They are delicious, and hugely healthy.

Nutritionally, dandelion greens and roots are chock full of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. They are one of the most nutritionally dense greens you can eat. Along with the punch of nutrition, they have many medicinal qualities as well. They are potassium-rich and have a strong diuretic quality, as well as efficacy as a blood detoxifier and good for the liver. They have long been used to treat digestive disorders and to treat arthritis and eczema.

Dandelion greens have a reputation for bitterness, but they are nicely so, and the bitterness is balanced by a lovely spiciness similar to arugula. Mature greens can get pretty bitter, but this can be tamed by blanching them.

The time to harvest dandelion greens is early in the spring, when they are their youngest and before they flower. They can be harvested again in late fall as they loose some of their bitterness after a frost. Look for young dandelions growing in rich, moist soil, making sure not to forage close to roads (they can accumulate pollution) or from areas that have been treated with garden chemicals. For a special treat, get out early in spring and look for the crown, which is the cluster of new buds that sits above the taproot. These are the tenderest, sweetest parts of the plant.

Young dandelion greens are tender and delicious served raw in salads or sandwiches. If you use the greens that have been harvested after the plant has flowered, you can blanch them in water to remove the bitterness; dump the bitter water, and blanch them again. You will loose a lot of vitamins this way, but there are still plenty of beneficial nutrients left. Use sauteed or steamed dandelion greens as you would any other greens. Dandelion root can by ground and used as a substitute for coffee, and dandelion flowers can be used in recipes and for garnish.

The French have a well-known soup called creme de pissenlits (cream of dandelion soup), which is easy to make, as is Dandelion Syrup.


The Health Benefits of Dandelion Root Coffee Substitute

By Karen McCarthy

Although coffee is not unanimously considered unhealthy, the caffeine in coffee is not safe for everyone. It can cause side effects, like anxiety and restlessness, and you shouldn't drink too much of it. The roots of dandelion flowers can be brewed to make a nutritious tea -- often called a coffee -- that's marketed to taste like coffee. You can typically find dandelion tea at health food stores. Check with your doctor before drinking it if you're on medication.

It's Caffeine-Free

Switching from coffee to brewed dandelion root would allow you to cut back on your caffeine intake since dandelion root is totally caffeine-free. Caffeine, widely known for counteracting sleepiness, can cause increased heart rate, insomnia, anxiety, depression, nausea, vomiting and tremors. The upper safety limit for caffeine is 300 milligrams daily, which is about three 8-ounce cups of coffee. Pregnant women and breast-feeding mothers should especially avoid too much caffeine, although it's safe in small amounts. Further, many medications interact with caffeine, but switching to dandelion root tea removes all risk by eliminating caffeine completely.

It's More Nutritious Than Coffee

In high amounts, the caffeine in coffee can cause your body to leach calcium. Dandelion root does not have this effect, and it gives much to the body without taking from it. The herb is rich in vitamins A, B, C and D and the minerals potassium, iron and zinc. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, herbalists have traditionally used dandelion root for liver and gallbladder detoxification and to support kidney health, stimulate appetite and improve digestion.

You Still Get the Antioxidant Benefits

Both coffee and dandelion root contain antioxidants, which counteract damage to the body done by free radicals. In a study on humans published in "Molecular Nutrition and Food Research" in 2011, the antioxidants in coffee reduced DNA damage. Dandelion root is rich in a flavonoid called luteolin, which was found to protect DNA from damage in test tubes in a study published in "Neoplasma" in 2001. It also contains vitamin A and caretenoids, which are known antioxidants.

Tips and Safety Precautions

You can find dandelion root in tea bags, or you can buy dandelions fresh at a health food store. Simply brew with boiling water and strain. Dandelion is safe, but potential side effects include heartburn, increased stomach acid and skin irritation. There's been no upper safety limit set for dandelion root, but it shouldn't be consumed to excess, as is the case with most herbs. Consult with your doctor before you brew dandelion if you have kidney or gallbladder problems.


Dandelion and Digestion

By Tracey Roizman (DC)

Dandelion, Terraxacum officinale, is a yellow-flowering perennial herb with long, deeply serrated leaves. Ubiquitous in rural, urban and suburban landscapes, its vigorous growth habit and feathery silver seed tufts make it a pleasant but invasive weed. Dandelion roots, leaves and flowers are edible and highly nutritious, and they offer certain benefits for digestive health.

Stomach Function

Dandelion increased gastric motility, which is the rate that food passes through the stomach, by as much as 37 percent compared to a control group that did not receive dandelion, in an animal study published in the August 2011 issue of "Neurogastroenterology and Motility." The herb worked by increasing pressure within the stomach and relaxing the muscular sphincter between the stomach and the small intestine. Researchers noted that dandelion increased gastric motility by as much as 18 percent more than a drug used for that purpose.

Pancreas Health

Dandelion helped protect against pancreatitis in an animal study published in the January 2008 "World Journal of Gastroenterology." Scientists administered daily doses of 10 milligrams of dandelion per kilogram of body weight for five days, along with a substance that induces pancreatitis. Results showed decreased weight of the pancreas and lower levels of inflammation-promoting immune molecules, indicating less inflammation and fluid accumulation, compared to a control group that did not receive dandelion. Dandelion-supplemented animals also showed higher levels of heat shock proteins, a category of protein molecules that help cells maintain healthy protein production during periods of stress.

Liver Benefits

Liver-protective benefits of dandelion leaf were demonstrated in an animal study published in the June 2012 "Journal of Medicinal Food." Dandelion decreased levels of oxidized lipids, which are those damaged by accumulated toxins and waste products, and prevented depletion of antioxidant compounds in the liver. Dandelion also prevented liver enzyme levels from rising -- a sign of stress on the liver -- in response to the over-the-counter pain reliever and anti-inflammatory medicine acetaminophen. Researchers concluded that phenolic antioxidants in dandelion account for its ability to neutralize free radicals, which are reactive molecules that damage cells, in the liver.

Dietary Uses

Dandelion is versatile and easy to incorporate into your daily diet. If you have access to a dandelion-studded lawn that has not been chemically treated, you'll have a steady supply from spring to fall. Otherwise, commercially grown dandelion leaves are available in many health food stores. Its leaves lend a pleasant, mildly bitter flavor and delicate texture to salads or stir-fry dishes. Brew roasted dandelion roots, which have a smoky flavor, as a tea or coffee substitute. You can also use roasted dandelion roots to flavor your favorite homemade ice cream recipe.


How Much Iron Is in Dandelions?

By Sara Ipatenco

You might consider dandelions a pesky weed that pops up in your lawn and garden, but they are greens that could boost your diet. Yes, you can eat dandelions, which happen to be quite nutritious. In addition to a good dose of iron, dandelions also supply other key vitamins and minerals.

Dandelions

One cup of raw dandelion greens contains 1.7 milligrams of iron, which is 21 percent of the 8 milligrams men should aim to consume each day, and 9 percent of the 18 milligrams women should have each day. A cup of cooked dandelion greens delivers 1.89 milligrams of iron.


Iron

Iron is an essential mineral that plays several key roles in your body. The mineral promotes the healthy production of red blood cells, which carry oxygen throughout your body. Iron is also important for making energy from the foods you eat. The nutrient might also boost your immunity. About 80 percent of the world's population is iron deficient, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. Mild iron deficiency can cause weakness and fatigue. More severe iron deficiency leads to anemia, a disease that decreases the function of your red blood cells and diminishes your ability to transport oxygen properly.

Additional Benefits

You get a whopping 376 to 428 micrograms of vitamin K in a cup of dandelion greens, which is significantly more than the 90 to 120 micrograms that you need each day. The same cup of dandelion greens supplies about 5 times the vitamin A you need each day. Dandelion greens provide slightly more than 10 percent of the 1,000 milligrams of calcium you need daily for strong bones and teeth. A cup of raw dandelion greens provides about 19 milligrams of vitamin C, too. You'll also get between 1.5 and 2 grams of protein, 2 or 3 grams of dietary fiber and about 200 milligrams of potassium.

Tips

Dandelion greens taste best when they're harvested before they bloom. After blooming, the greens start to taste bitter. Wash the greens thoroughly before using them. Let them dry if you plan on eating them raw. Raw dandelion greens enhance the flavor of a tossed green salad. Tear the greens and add them to pasta salad for another tasty serving suggestion. Steam dandelion greens, squeeze them with a bit of lemon juice and sprinkle them with salt and pepper for a nutritious side dish that pairs well with grilled meat or fish.


What Is the Benefit of Eating Young Dandelion Leaves?

By Joanne Marie

You might consider the dandelion plant a nuisance weed in your garden, one you pull out and discard to prevent it from spreading. But dandelion has a long history as part of herbal medicine in many cultures. Its leaves contain vitamins, minerals and other natural phytochemicals with biological activity and potential health benefits.

Nutrients

Dandelion leaves contain carbohydrate and protein and provide about 25 calories in one cup of leaves. They also contain healthy fiber, about 2 grams per cup, which can benefit your digestive tract by adding bulk to your stool, helping keep it soft. Dandelion leaves also provide about 20 milligrams of vitamin C per cup, more than 5,000 international units of vitamin A and 2 milligrams vitamin E, along with small amounts of several B vitamins. The leaves also contain several important minerals, including calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium. In addition to these beneficial nutrients, dandelion leaves contain other natural compounds with medicinal properties.

Components

Dandelion leaves are an especially rich source of beta carotene, which is both a vitamin-A precursor and a potent antioxidant. Other compounds in dandelion are flavonoids, including several luteolins that are also antioxidants. Dandelion leaves also contain several natural chemicals called terpenes that give the leaves their bitter flavor, as well as plant sterols such as beta-sitosterol and stigmasterol. Plants sterols are fatty compounds with a structure similar to cholesterol. They have natural anti-inflammatory properties and can also help reduce absorption of dietary cholesterol into your blood.

Health Effects

Dandelion leaves are used traditionally as a diuretic to increase urine production and benefit the kidneys. Modern research supports this use. For example, a clinical study published in the August 2009 issue of "Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine" found that human subjects who consumed an extract from fresh dandelion leaves produced significantly more urine than they had during each of the two previous days. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, dandelion leaves have been used to also stimulate appetite, improve digestion and calm an upset stomach. Dandelion may also boost your immune system, support the function of your liver and help keep your blood sugar in a healthy range.

How To Use

Dandelion leaves are available from some specialty food stores or health-food stores. You might also harvest fresh dandelion leaves from plants, generally in spring or early summer, depending on your location. Add the leaves to your salad, and combine with other herbs, spices and greens to suit your taste. Alternatively, combine dandelion leaves with fruit, choosing berries or other naturally sweet fruit to offset the bitter flavor of the leaves. If fresh leaves are not available, dried dandelion is available in capsules from most health-food stores. Dandelion is generally safe and without side effects, although some people may be allergic to the leaves, and compounds in the leaves might interact with certain medications. Discuss dandelion leaves with your doctor to decide if they could be good for you.


Diet tips to keep your kidneys healthy

By Tania Tarafdar

Follow these expert diet tips to keep your kidneys healthy and prevent kidney diseases and infections.

Kidneys are among the most vital organs of your body as they help process everything you put in your body from medications, foods to alcohol. A proper diet can revitalise your system and rid your system of harmful virus, bacteria and parasites. Cleansing the kidneys is important to prevent kidney infection and kidney stone formation. Follow this diet by Delhi-based nutritionist, Dr Kanika Girdhar to bolster your immunity and keep your kidneys healthy.

Drink warm water with lemon juice

Start your day with a cup of hot water and a dash of lemon juice. Having this concoction first thing in the morning will flush the toxins out of your body. Also, follow these tips to prevent kidney problems and diseases.

Load up on fruits and vegetables

Including more fruits and vegetables in your diet can reduce your risk of kidney infection and metabolic acidosis—a condition where your body produces too much acid. People with chronic kidney disease are more susceptible to metabolic acidosis. Fruits and vegetables can help the kidneys remove the excess acid and excrete it through urine. Bell peppers, cabbage, cauliflower and onions can be perfect to keep your kidneys healthy. Rich in antioxidants the power-packed berries can help flush out the uric acid from the kidneys, keeping them healthy. Apples are also rich in fibre and antioxidants that can improve the kidney function.

Consume parsley and dandelion leaves

One of the nature’s best diuretics, dandelion leaves help strengthen the kidneys and aid in the proper functioning of the urinary tract. Just brew dried dandelion leaves into a refreshing tea and drink it once a day. Parsley also helps flush the toxins from the kidneys. You can either add parsley leaves to your salad or brew parsley tea.

Drink healthy beverages

Drinking fresh juices can be an excellent way of including more fluids and keeping your kidneys healthy. Fluids help the digestive system to extract more water and flush out wastes from the body. However, if you suffer from a kidney disease, avoid juices made from vegetables like spinach and beets. These vegetables are rich in oxalic acid which promotes the formation of kidney stones. Instead, drink coconut water to rejuvenate your organs.

Avoid caffeine, alcohol and refined foods

Limit your intake of coffee, alcohol and refined foods as they can be tough to process, thus putting a lot of strain on your kidneys. A high-protein diet can also do more harm than good. Eating too much protein can also strain the kidneys causing them to work harder even to the point of resulting in kidney malfunction. Here are things your nephrologist (kidney specialist) wants you to know.

Limit your intake of salt

Avoid store-bought soups and deli meals laden with salt. Your body expends a lot of energy in expelling the excess salt. When you consume too much salt, your kidneys have to work even harder to process it. Hence, it is a good idea to lower your intake of salt and restricting it to five-six grammes of salt per day, which accounts to one teaspoon, is beneficial. In general, it is good to limit the amount of processed and restaurant food and eat home cooked food with clean and fresh ingredients.


Dandelion: Weed or Medicinal Powerhouse?

By: Michelle Schoffro Cook

Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) has a bad reputation as nothing more than a pesky week. Like most other weeds that people regard as a mere nuisance, dandelion has scientifically-proven medicinal properties and an extensive history of use.

An Arabian doctor first recorded dandelion’s curative properties in the tenth century. Dandelion was once called “piddle bed” because of its ability to increase urine flow. The French has a less tactful name for the plant as well: “pissenlit.” For those of you who don’t speak any French I’ll let you know that “en lit” means “in bed.” I’ll leave you to figure out the rest.

The Australian Journal of Medical Herbalism cites research supporting the liver-regenerating properties of dandelion, particularly in cases of jaundice, liver swelling, hepatitis, and indigestion.

In a study published in the journal Molecules, researchers found that animals given dandelion had a reduction in fatigue and a boost in immunity.

According to Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, author of The Fat Flush Plan, dandelion root aids the liver and fat metabolism in two ways: it stimulates the liver to produce more bile to send to the gallbladder, and at the same time causes the gallbladder to contract and release its stored bile, assisting with fat metabolism.

Some health professionals advise taking dandelion root tea for people on antidepressant medications since these drugs can impede the liver’s detoxification pathways.

According to research cited in The Purification Plan, dandelion helps break down toxins before they have a chance to damage cells and may therefore be useful for cancer prevention.

In a study published in Advances in Hematology, researchers found that dandelion significantly increased both red and white blood cells, making it a possible aid in the treatment of anemia, blood purification, immune system modulation.

Due to pesticides and pollutants I don’t recommend picking dandelion root from your lawn unless you live away from traffic and are confident of the land’s organic status. You can take one to two teaspoons of dandelion root extract or supplement with 500 to 2000 mg daily in capsules for two weeks to help cleanse your liver.

Dandelion greens tend to work best on the urinary tract while the root works on the liver. If you choose to incorporate dandelion greens into your diet, check out my article 10 Sensation Spring Superfoods.

If you plan to use the root to give your liver a boost, a typical dose is 500 to 2000 mg of dandelion root in capsule form. You can also make a decoction (a type of herbal medicinal tea) by using two teaspoons of powdered dandelion root per cup of water. Bring to a boil and simmer for 45 minutes. Make a large enough batch that it won’t just evaporate during the cooking time. Drink one cup three times daily. A third option is to take one teaspoon of alcohol-based tincture, three times daily. Be sure to consult with a naturally-minded doctor if you suffer from any health conditions or if you are taking prescription drugs as some drugs can interfere with herbal medicines.

We spend billions of dollars searching for the one miracle pill that will cure what ails us while Mother Nature has provided medicine right beneath our noses. If we’d only stop killing the “weeds” we contend with on our lawns and instead cultivate these powerful healing herbs we’d be much healthier (that is, unless you live in a high traffic area or spray your lawn with toxic pesticides).



6 Autumn Superfoods that Support Super Health All Season

By Michelle Schoffro Cook

I love fall fairs and farmer’s markets this time of year. After all, it’s wonderful to enjoy superfoods that are as delicious as they are health-promoting. While there are many autumn superfoods worthy of inclusion in your diet, here are some of my favorites.

Apples—Research in the online medical journal BMJ put the old adage “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” to the test—at least where heart disease and stroke are concerned. Scientists at the University of Oxford, England compared the effects of eating one apple to taking a typical daily dose of statin drugs, which are primarily used to lower cholesterol levels. Then they assessed the mortality rates from heart disease and stroke and found that eating an apple a day had an equivalent reduction in mortality to the statin drugs, without the potential side-effects. What’s more is that apples contain compounds called polyphenols which act as natural sunscreen to shield apples from the sun’s UV-B rays. When we eat apples regularly, these polyphenols appear to help to protect our skin against sun damage.

Dandelion Root—Okay, maybe you didn’t realize that you could dig up this delicious and highly medicinal root any time of the year, but especially in the fall when the nutrients and medicinal compounds are at their height. Dandelion is showing tremendous promise as a potential natural cancer remedy. A study by the University of Windsor, Ontario, Canada and published in the journal Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine found that an extract of dandelion root (Taraxacum officinale) showed effectiveness on skin cancer. The researchers found that after 48 hours of exposure to the dandelion extract, melanoma skin cancer cells began to die off. Even cells that were resistant to chemotherapy responded to dandelion root extract. Obviously, more research is necessary but considering how delicious roasted dandelion root tastes you may want to add it to your diet. Due to pesticides and pollutants I don’t recommend picking dandelion root from your lawn unless you live away from traffic and are confident of the land’s organic status.

One of the most delicious ways of enjoying dandelion root is to wash it, chop it coarsely, lay on a baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for one to two hours depending on whether you want a “light” or “dark” roast (similar to coffee) then allow to cool, grind and add a tablespoon to your smoothies. My favorite dandelion smoothie involves 2 cups almond milk, 2 tablespoons of roasted dandelion root (ground), 1 fresh date (pitted) and ½ cup of raw cashews (unsalted). Blend with some ice. Serve immediately.

Eggplant—Exciting research published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry found that a compound in the skin of eggplant that gives it its beautiful dark purple color, not only acts as a potent antioxidant to protect cells and tissues from damage, it also shows promise in the treatment of cancer. The compound, known as nasunin, appears to block angiogenesis—a process by which cancer cells and tumors divert or create new blood vessels that are used to feed the cancer or cause it to spread. While the research into nasunin’s ability to block angiogenesis is still in its infancy, it is exciting to know that every time we eat a delicious meal made from eggplant, we may be helping to prevent cancer.

Pumpkin—Pumpkin is a nutritional powerhouse. Not only is it high in beta carotene—the nutrient that gives pumpkin its signature orange color, it is also high in fiber. One cup of cooked pumpkin has three grams of fiber, which is beneficial to bowel health. Pumpkin also contains lutein and zeaxanthin—two other types of carotenes that have well-established links to the prevention of prostate cancer.

Pumpkin Seeds—Research in the Journal of Medicinal Food found that pumpkin seed oil helped reduce excessive levels of testosterone in males. Excessively high levels of testosterone are implicated in benign prostatic hyperplasia—a condition of abnormal prostate cell growth that can be a precursor to prostate cancer. Pumpkin seeds are high in Omega 3 fatty acids that not only protect the prostate but are well-established to reduce inflammation throughout the body.

Squash—Like pumpkins, squash is high in beta carotene and other carotenoids. Squashes also contain a compound known as homogalacturonan, which has been found to help regulate insulin and blood sugars, as well as have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Additionally, don’t throw out the seeds from squash. Just like pumpkin seeds, squash seeds are highly nutritious and contain Omega 3 fatty acids. Roast the seeds at 170 for about 10-15 minutes until the seeds are just lightly browned. Add a dash of sea salt and enjoy this delicious autumn snack.


Top 7 Health Benefits Of Dandelion Root

By: Somya Ojha

Many people might not be aware that dandelion roots have several health benefits. Few benefits are discussed here and this has been proved through several studies as well.

Since centuries, dandelion root has been used worldwide for its healing and therapeutic abilities. Read on to discover the amazing ways in which dandelion root can affect your health and wellness.

Most people mistake it to be a weed, but trust us, when it comes to dandelion root, there is more than what meets the eye. Several studies have found that dandelion root is replete with powerful compounds that can effectively ward off several health issues.

Mostly available in a tea form, this folk medicine has garnered a great deal of attention in the last few years for its health benefits, and one of them being its ability to prevent cancer.

Though there is no conclusive evidence regarding the same, researchers have been able to establish a strong link between dandelion root and cancerous cells.

So, today at Boldsky, we have assembled a list of ways in which dandelion root can benefit an individual's health. From treating infection to aiding better digestion, the root of dandelion flower can prove to be highly beneficial.

Take a look at the top health benefits of dandelion root here.

Note: If you're suffering from a health condition, then we highly recommend you to consult your dietician before integrating anything new in your diet.

1. Aids Better Digestion Dandelion root is packed with laxatives that play an instrumental role in promoting better digestion. Consuming it on a regular basis can keep digestion-related problems at bay. Just brew yourself a cup of fresh dandelion root tea to aid better digestion.

2. Detoxifies The Liver Since ages, dandelion root is also referred to as a liver tonic. Mainly because the antioxidants present in it can effectively clear the accumulated toxins and impurities from your liver. So, for a natural detoxification, just include dandelion root in your diet.

3. Lowers High Blood Pressure For people suffering from high blood pressure, dandelion root is known to be particularly effective in naturally bringing down the level of blood pressure. It is loaded with the essential compounds like potassium that can calm down your blood pressure level.

4. Regulates Blood Sugar Another health benefit of dandelion root is that it can work like a charm for the people who suffer from diabetes. It acts as a potent remedy in regulating the insulin level, effectively keeps the level of blood sugar in control and prevents it from shooting off the roof.

5. Can Prevent Cancer Certain compounds present in dandelion root can play a key role in keeping a life-threatening disease like cancer at bay. Though the scientific evidence is still inconclusive, there is no denying the fact that there is a strong link between cancer and dandelion root.

6. Prevents Urinary Tract Infections The antibacterial abilities of dandelion root make it an ideal remedy for preventing unpleasant infections like urinary tract infections. Drink it in a tea form or add it to your food, either ways it can effectively keep infection-causing bacteria at bay.

7. Boosts Immune Function Another incredible way in which dandelion root can benefit your health is by strengthening your immune system. The compounds present in it are known to boost up immunity and keep you safe from various infections.


Lifestyle: Health benefits of dandelion

(Ghana Web)

Most times, we hear people talk abut the benefits of dandelion roots and leaves but we don't pay heed to it. Some of us have seen it growing in ours or our neighbor's garden, but we see it as just another weed despite the talks about it benefits to our health.

But I can tell you as a fact that the plant can help you live 5 years longer if you will pay more attention to the talks and start using it, as many people who use it have testified to its usefulness.

Dandelion is rich in Vitamin B, organic sodium, iron, calcium Vitamin A and C, fiber, trace minerals, organic sodium and vitamin D too, which helps fight many sicknesses and skin diseases. You can add it to your smoothie, your salad or even make tea with it, whenever you want to use it.

So before you go cutting away the ones in your garden, here are 7 health benefits of dandelion leaves and roots you should know.

1. Liver disorders Dandelion helps the liver in many ways. It removes toxins, aids in the proper flow of piles, re-establish hydration and promotes digestion. The vitamin C and Luteolin in dandelions are said to protect the liver from aging.

2. Kidney problems Dandelion is said to be diuretic in nature thereby, helps clear out excess water, waste, salt and other toxic substances from the liver by increasing urine production and helps the urinary system too. The diuretic in dandelion is said to be so high that in France, the flowers is called "Pissenlit", which simply means "urinate in bed".

3. Cancer Dandelion is said to have proven study after study to having the ability to combat cancer when most medicines have shown no result. Because the leaves are high in antioxidants (Vitamin C and Luteolin), it reduces the main cancer-causing agents, thereby reducing the risk of cancer. The Luteolin is said to poison the essential components of the cancer cells, making them ineffective and unable to reproduce.

4. Skin problems The dandelion milk is or the dandelion sap is highly alkaline and is said to have fungicidal, germicidal and insecticidal properties which are very effective in treating skin problems such as ringworm, itchy rash, eczema, and other skin infections, and it causes no side effects.

5. Diabetes Because of the diuretic nature of dandelion, it increases the urination in diabetic patients thereby removing the excess sugar from their body. Dandelion juice also lowers their sugar level since it is a bit bitter and dandelion extracts also help prevent dangerous spikes and plunges for diabetic patients because of its production of insulin.

6. <High blood pressure Because urination is an effective way to reduce blood pressure, the dandelion is a perfect solution due to its diuretic nature which increases urination. The fiber and potassium in dandelion also help regulate blood pressure.

7. Anaemia The vitamin B, iron and protein content in dandelions are said to be essentials for the formation of red blood cells and other blood components which, therefore, help the condition of people with anemia. So we hope this will be enough reason for you to make use of dandelion so that you can stay healthy and live longer. If you have other benefits, feel free to share.


Dandelions (Root, Leaves, and All) Deserve the Superfood Spotlight

By Carly Graf

After years of living in the shadows of other lauded superfoods (kale, anyone?), dandelions are finally getting some much-deserved attention. The little green is popping up on menus across the country and in all kinds of dishes—smoothies, salads, broth-based soups, and even as garnishes for savory dishes like pasta and risotto. While people are crazy about the flavor (slightly bitter), they're even crazier about the nutritional benefits packed into every part of this plant. A low-cal flavor boost chock full of minerals, vitamins, and more—what's not to love? (Other powerhouses: 8 "Ugly" Nutrient-Packed Fruits and Vegetables.)

The Facts

We're unprepared to label dandelion as a miracle weight loss trick or a one-step solution to better health, as some people claim it is (although we will take a stand on The Best Farmers' Market Foods for Weight Loss). That said, it's worth giving what's normally seen as nothing more than a pesky garden intruder a second look.

Dandelions are, in fact, tiny nutritional powerhouses. The flowers are loaded with vitamins A, B, C, and D; minerals including potassium, iron, and zinc; and phytonutrients like beta-carotene."Iron helps transport oxygen throughout the body while zinc is a powerful antixoidant that assists with maintaining regular hormone levels," says Dana Kofsky, a licensed nutritionist and corporate wellness consultant based in Los Angeles. "Potassium helps reduce blood pressure and minimize the risk of strokes," she adds.

What’s more, you can eat every single part of the dandelion—roots and all. The petals themselves boast an impressive assortment of antioxidants helpful in preventing diseases, while the minerals in the leaves and roots help the body flush out toxins and impurities, research shows. Meanwhile, dandelion leaves have more calcium than most varieties of leafy greens, says Kofsky. The roots—often used in teas and, more recently, herbal coffees—act as an appetite stimulant and help to alleviate minor digestive problems such as constipation, says Steven Ehrlich, founder and medical director of Solutions Acupuncture and Naturopathic Medicine in Phoenix, AZ.

And it’s not just the laundry list of nutrients that gives dandelions their powerful punch. The ability to detoxify stems from the fiber-packed leaves. Long-term, fiber fights against diabetes and can help lower cholesterol, while short-term, it slows down digestion, helping you stay full longer, explains Kofsky. In fact, dandelion roots have been used to detoxify the liver, gallbladder, and kidneys for centuries, says Ehrlich. (Should You Detox With Dandelion Root Tea?)

While there’s still a need for more scientific exploration into some of the more extreme claims about this flower, the once under-the-radar ingredient is now enjoying the superfood spotlight in a big way.

The Buzz


One of the greatest things about dandelion as an ingredient is its versatility. Chefs are getting creative with how they utilize every part of the flower. We've seen the leaves raw in a salad or blended into a spread; the roots roasted as part of an herbal coffee or tea; and the petals placed as a beautiful, edible garnish for any dish. In many ways, the dandelion is a supercharged sprout—it has a slightly more bitter and earthier taste than your average alfalfa sprout, but it still gives you a vibrant pop of green in just about any dish, says Candice Kumai, professional chef and author of Clean Green Eats.

If you're looking to drink your dandelion rather than eat it, turn towards dandelion coffees and teas. A new favorite in trendy coffee shops, including Amara in Los Angeles and Life Alive in Cambridge, MA, dandelion herbal coffees are, in many ways, very similar to matcha, thanks to the sustained energy levels and supposedly more gradual “buzz” that results from drinking it. (Here, 4 Healthy Caffeine Fixes—No Coffee or Soda Required.)

To incorporate dandelion root beverages into your diet, you can try powdered coffee blends or tea bags, which you can pick up at local health food stores or Whole Foods. The coffee blends, such as Dandy Blend, look and taste strikingly similar to coffee, except that they contain no caffeine and, instead of coffee grounds, are comprised of ingredients such as roasted barley rye, sugar beet, and chicory root in addition to the dandelion. Give this a shot if you're looking for a nutrient-packed coffee alternative. Tea brands, including Yogi Tea's DeTox and Traditional Medicinal's Roasted Dandelion Root Tea, have started to incorporate dandelion into their beverage blends as well.

The Bottom Line

If you’re looking to add a new good-for-you green to your dishes, dandelions offer a nutritional one-two punch coupled with a major flavor boost. "Dandelion greens are seriously in a league of their own," says Kumai. Pair the greens and flowers—which have an almost broccoli rabe-like bitterness to them—with something sweet. Blend them with a fruit in a smoothie or as a sweet dressing in a dandelion greens salad, recommends Kumai. If you want to add a flavor to an ordinary sauté of greens, throw some dandelions in with extra virgin olive oil and garlic; pair all of that with quinoa for a seriously nutritious entree.

Next time you're wandering through the produce aisle looking for inspiration, don't hesitate at the dandelion. After all, remember when you thought pea sprouts were weird?


Let dandelions have their day in the sun

By James Wong

Compared to spinach, dandelions are easier to grow and much richer in vitamins – plus they pack a more flavourful punch

I am an obsessive collector of vegetable gardening books. I have been since I was eight years old. Yet there is something I find curious about all of them. Almost without fail, page after page is dedicated to the cultivation of spinach, while a few chapters later similar space is dedicated to the eradication of dandelions. As a botanist I can’t help but think: what if they were the other way round? What makes one plant a weed and another a prized edible worth so much time and effort?

Despite being cast as a horticultural villain, dandelions are actually one of the oldest crops, with fresh, tender leaves. They are a popular salad green, from France and Italy to China and India. With good reason, too, as the vegetal bitterness is virtually identical to the flavour of other leafy crops, like chicory (to which it is related). Nutritionally it doesn’t fare badly either, having twice the vitamin A of spinach per serving (more than your daily dose in each handful) and more than double the vitamin C, not to mention a huge helping of more than five times your recommended daily intake of vitamin K.

Spinach is not only a runner-up in the vitamin stakes, it also is comparatively bland, without any of the dandelion’s gutsy radicchio-meets-rocket flavour.

Anyone who has tried it will also tell you that spinach is not the easiest crop to grow, with its tendency to bolt into flower at the slightest hint of being kept too dry or too hot. Dandelions, by contrast, literally plant themselves. They are also super high-yielding, and generate big bunches of pretty yellow flowers that are great for pollinators at the time of year when they need them most.

I grow mine by simply lifting dandelions that pop up on their own in my beds and borders (you don’t have to be to gentle about this) and planting them spaced about 30cm apart in a bed of rich soil. If they are in shadier spots, with a weekly douse of water, the leaves will grow far larger and lusher and have a milder flavour. Some growers will even cover plants in large buckets or terracotta pots for a few weeks in the early spring. In this dark environment the new growth will emerge primrose-yellow and elongated. This process, known as blanching, makes for milder, more tender leaves – exactly as is done for conventional chicory.

I love to eat them just as you would any salad green, or briefly sautéed in garlic, lemon and olive oil. They make an amazing salad tossed in the hot fat from crispy fried lardons along with a handful of croutons and a tablespoon of chopped chives. For years the idea of eating dandelions has come with associations of eccentricity, but strip the prejudices aside and all you are left with is a healthy, delicious chicory that requires next to no work to grow.


The Health Benefits of Eating Dandelion Greens

By Tracey Roizman, DC

Both ubiquitous and reviled by homeowners desirous of a perfectly manicured lawn, the common dandelion is edible and offers a wealth of nutritional and medicinal benefits. Fresh dandelion greens have a mild, pleasant, slightly bitter flavor and are available at many health food stores. If you eschew chemical fertilizers and other lawn treatments you might consider controlling your dandelions by harvesting them.

Nutritional Content

Dandelion greens compare favorably in nutritional content to other commonly consumed green vegetables, providing four times as much calcium, 1.5 times as much vitamin A and 7.5 times as much vitamin K as broccoli. This leafy green vegetable also contains twice as much iron and three times as much riboflavin as spinach, and, while spinach provides no vitamin E or carotenoids, dandelion greens boast 17 percent of the daily adult dose of vitamin E and 13,610 international units, or IUs, of lutein and zeaxanthin per 3.5-ounce serving. However, dandelion greens are lower in vitamin C and folate than either spinach or broccoli.

Diuretic

Diuretic properties of dandelion greens make them useful for promoting urine production and reducing symptoms of some liver, gallbladder and kidney conditions. A study published in the August 2009 issue of the "Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine" found that dandelion greens caused significant increase in urine output in the 5-hour periods after consumption after two doses spaced 24 hours apart. However, a third dose 24 hours after the second did not show an increase in urine production among study participants. Researchers concluded that dandelion greens may offer benefits as a diuretic. Immunity

Dandelion greens inhibit interleukins and other immune molecules that trigger inflammation. Dandelion may also control inflammation by suppressing COX-2 enzymes, the molecules that non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs target, according to Leah Hechtman, author of the book "Clinical Naturopathic Medicine." A tissue culture study published in the August 2010 issue of the "Journal of Medicinal Food" found that dandelion greens extract significantly suppressed nitric oxide, prostaglandins and cytokines, all pro-inflammatory molecules.

Cancer

Breast and prostate cancers may respond well to treatment with dandelion greens, according to Mark A. Goldstein, co-author of the book "Healthy Herbs." Researchers of a study published in the May 2008 issue of the "International Journal of Oncology" found that dandelion leaf extract, but not extracts of dandelion flower or root, decreased growth in tissue cultures of breast cancer cells. Dandelion leaf extract also blocked the spread of prostate cancer in the study. Researchers concluded that dandelion leaf extract may offer potential benefits as anti-cancer agents.


Dandelions: nuisance or nature’s nutritious gem?

By Jess Scott Wright (RDN)

In my experience, spring is the best antidote for the wet, winter blues, and it’s here! Walk outside and you can see, smell and hear nature rejoicing. Unfortunately, not everything that reemerges with spring is welcomed with open arms – mosquitoes, garden pests, blackberry vines and weeds can undermine the stress-busting properties of gardening and landscaping.

Springtime encourages outdoor activities such as gardening, which many research studies have found to reduce stress and promote positive mental health. The American Horticulture Therapy Association promotes an entire handbook dedicated to the powerful effects of gardening called “The Benefits of Gardening and Food Growing for Health and Well-Being,” which is available for free online via Google Scholar and is full of scientific information in support of this notion.

Depending on your definition of what constitutes a weed, the art of weed pulling may extend health benefits far beyond our mental wellbeing. Take dandelions for example:

Dandelions may look like weeds and their stubborn root might be really challenging to dig out of the ground, but they are truly healing gifts from nature. Not only are they easily identifiable, the dandelion is totally edible from root to flower, and it has a delicious versatility in the culinary world.

Just like spinach or kale, dandelion greens are tasty additions to soups or salads. Young greens have the best flavor for eating raw, or lightly sautéed in olive oil and sprinkled with salt and pepper, but for more mature greens, you may want to tame the potentially acrid taste by blanching them for 20 to 30 seconds in boiling water and shocking them in an ice bath to stop the cooking process. Store dandelion greens in containers/storage drawers that control moisture.

Dandelion greens are vitamin A and K powerhouses. In fact, just one cup provides more than 500 percent of the daily value for Vitamin K according to nutritiondata.self.com, so those taking anticoagulants like warfarin or Coumadin may want to talk to their healthcare provider before causing major shifts in their normal vitamin K intake with dandelion greens.

Dr. Siyaram Pandey, a biochemist at the University of Windsor in Ontario has been studying the effects of dandelion root extract on cancer. Thanks to his published findings and overwhelming support, Dr. Pandey acquired approval to study the possible cancer-fighting effects of dandelion extract, making it the first natural extract to receive approval for a clinical human cancer trial in Canada from Health Canada, the federal department responsible for governing medicine and healthcare in Canada.

In a TEDx talk about his research, Dr. Pandey said, “We dug out the dandelion root and just ground it in a home blender with water, made the extract, filtered it, tried to put it in the same Petri dishes where we grow the leukemia cells, and frankly speaking I was not expecting any activity because it was so diluted.” To his surprise, cancer cells started dying while healthy cells remained unharmed.

For centuries dandelion has been regarded for its potent healing and medicinal properties. As sources of calcium, antioxidants such as vitamin C and many minerals such as zinc, magnesium, potassium and phosphorus, dandelion leaves have traditionally been dried and made into teas and tinctures that are said to improve inflammation, promote healthy function for the liver, kidney and gallbladder and resolve symptoms associated with diseases like diabetes and high blood pressure.

Lately, I’ve been rendered breathless by the beauty of the exploding cherry blossoms. The colorful tulips sneakily emerge like flecks of joyous laughter through the landscapes and of course there are dandelions, which I assume are received with mixed emotions as they bring a scattered, chaotic, and persistent interruption to any hopes of having a flawless lawn like the one down the street so green that my husband stares enviously when he passes. I remind him that our grass, with all its patches and varietals, has character. This year I am going to embrace the dandelions, because when the next dreary, gray, wet winter arrives, I will miss them. But for now, I will eat them.

Please keep in mind that while eating dandelions is completely safe, when it comes to foraging, you must be certain that what you think you are eating is precisely that. Avoid wild dandelions along roadsides or in other areas subject to pollution or heavy pesticide use.

Many wild weeds are poisonous and easily mistaken by foragers as a safe edible plant. If you ever have an inkling of doubt, take a sample of your plant to a professional and have them confirm whether it is safe to eat or not. The Washington State Noxious Weed Control Board has helpful information in identifying poisonous weeds and how to handle them.


What Are the Benefits of Dandelion Root?

By Joanne Marie (Demand Media)

To some, the common dandelion is just a bothersome weed. However, dandelion root has been used in traditional herbal medicine for hundreds of years. After examining the properties of dandelion in detail, modern science suggests that its root might have significant benefits that can keep you healthy and disease-free.

Dandelion

The dandelion plant (Taraxacum officinale) is a hardy perennial that grows wild in temperate regions worldwide. It has a thick, long taproot that has been used for centuries as a medicinal aid. Native Americans boiled the dandelion plant and used it to treat kidney disease, skin disorders and upset stomach. In traditional Chinese medicine, it is commonly recommended for digestive problems and to improve milk production in breast-feeding women, and European herbalists use dandelion for fever, diarrhea and diabetes, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. Dandelion contains several biologically active constituents that make it potentially beneficial for your health. Kidney Effects

Clinical research suggests that dandelion is an effective diuretic that increases urine output by the kidneys. In a study published in the "Journal of Complementary and Alternative Medicine" in 2009, human subjects consumed dandelion extract for one day while their urine production was monitored every few hours. Researchers found that dandelion caused a significant increase in urine output compared to the amount measured on the previous two days. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, increasing urine production dandelion could help rid your body of excess fluid, reduce high blood pressure and improve liver problems.

Anti-Cancer Activity

Some laboratory research also suggests that compounds in dandelion root might have anti-cancer properties. For example, in a study published in "Biological and Pharmaceutical Bulletin" of the compound lupeol from dandelion root, researchers found that the compound blocked growth of cultured melanoma cells and caused them to develop into non-cancerous, normal cells. Another study published in the same journal in 2002 found similar anti-cancer effects of taraxinic acid, another dandelion root compound, on cultured leukemia cells. While these are promising results from laboratory research, they need confirmation in large clinical trials with human subjects.

How To Use

Dandelion root is available from health-food stores in powdered form, or as an extract in capsules or as liquid. A typical dose is 2 to 8 grams of dried root three times daily, or 250 milligrams of an extract, three to four times daily. Although generally considered quite safe, do not take dandelion if you have gall bladder disease or gallstones. It may also cause an allergic reaction or mild gastrointestinal problems in some people. Dandelion root may interact with certain medications, including diuretics, diabetes medicines or lithium. Discuss its use with your doctor to decide if dandelion might be helpful for your situation.


Reap the Benefits of Dandelion Greens

By Roger Doiron

For many, harvesting wild dandelion greens is a beloved springtime ritual. Learn how to use dandelions and enjoy the health benefits of dandelion greens in a variety of ways.

I’m going wild again, just like I did last year. My suburban wildness — if such a thing is possible — centers on a simple spring ritual that starts in mid-April and continues through mid-May: harvesting dandelion greens at their young and tender best.

For my neighbors who watch the spectacle, I suspect it’s a curiosity the likes of which most folks don’t see anymore: a grown man crawling around on the ground on his hands and knees with a sharp knife in one hand and a colander in the other. Although wild dandelion greens can be found throughout my yard, I’ve discovered that the best ones grow in the wildest of places, safe from the punishing foot traffic of my three boys and the whir of the lawn mower blade.

The wildest spot in my yard is behind our house under the protective canopy of 50-foot pines. The trees were planted years ago as a natural border between my yard and our neighbor’s. As they’ve grown, they’ve created a fringe forest ecosystem. The soil there is particularly rich due to the accumulation and decomposition of pine needles and windswept autumn leaves. Just enough sunlight passes through for dandelions and other opportunistic plants to thrive.

Although these wild dandelion greens are only 30 yards from my back door, my path to discovering them was not so direct. In fact, it veered off course by about 3,000 miles to the east. I learned the pleasures of eating dandelion salads in Europe from my Belgian mother-in-law, known as “Mami” by my sons. Mami grew up on a small family farm in the foothills of the Ardennes mountain range. Although the nearby battles of World War II were over by the time she was born, the wartime thrift mentality held fast in Europe throughout her childhood. The thinking was that if the land was prepared to offer up free food in the form of salad greens, mushrooms and berries, one would be silly to refuse.

Embraced throughout human history and across cultures and cuisines, the dandelion has been cast as public enemy No. 1 in postwar, suburban America. An estimated 80 million pounds of pesticides are used each year on home lawns to eradicate them. Yet each year, the scrappy plant returns, thumbing its sunny yellow nose.

For me, letting my dandelions grow wild and pesticide-free is not just about frugality and ecology, but also gastronomy. Food writers often say that the best foods are those with a sense of time and place. I love these bitter greens as much as I do because I know the ground they come from and appreciate that they only come once a year. They also serve as a useful reminder that good foods are closer than we may think, even as close as our own back yard.

Dandelion Gastronomy

All parts of the dandelion are edible and have medicinal and culinary uses. It has long been used as a liver tonic and diuretic. In addition, the roots contain inulin and levulin, starchlike substances that may help balance blood sugar, as well as bitter taraxacin, which stimulates digestion. Dandelion roots can be harvested during any frost-free period of the year and eaten raw, steamed, or even dried, roasted and ground into a coffee substitute. The flowers are best known for their use in dandelion wine, but they also can be added to a salad, made into jellies or dipped in batter to make dandelion fritters. The leaves are rich in potassium, antioxidants, and vitamins A and C. Dandelion greens can be eaten raw, steamed, boiled, sautéed or braised. For use in salads, greens should be harvested from new plants while still small and tender, before the first flower emerges. Larger greens tend to be tougher and more bitter, and better suited for cooking.

Grow Your Own

While dandelions may well be nature’s most successful self-seeding plant, they don’t necessarily grow where you want them. Dandelion lovers can take the guesswork out of it by planting their own.

‘Clio’ is an Italian dandelion that produces high yields of upright greens that are easy to harvest (available from Johnny’s Selected Seeds). ‘Ameliore’ is a cultivated French strain of the common dandelion with broader leaves and a milder flavor than its outlaw cousin (available from The Cook’s Garden). Milano Chicory Melange is a salad mix that includes dandelion-like ‘Catalogna’ seeds as part of a colorful mix of red and green chicories (available from John Scheepers Kitchen Garden Seeds).

Dandelion Recipes to Try
Dandelion Salad Recipe with Fresh Goat Cheese and Apples
Dandelion Mushroom Calzone Recipe
Wilted Dandelion Greens Salad Recipe
Simple Sautéed Dandelion Greens Recipe

Should You Detox With Dandelion Root Tea?

(POPSUGAR Fitness)

If you're feeling bloated and lethargic, you may have heard of drinking dandelion root tea to cure that puffy, overly full feeling. But is imbibing a steaming mug of a bitter-tasting common weed really the key to feeling your best?

Many people use dandelion root to detoxify, relieve constipation, soothe an upset stomach, and help shed water weight, among many other health remedies. In fact, tea made from the dandelion's root or leaves has been used in traditional Chinese and Native American medicine for centuries; now, even Dr. Oz has jumped on board, recommending dandelion tea as part of his 48-hour cleanse to help your liver release toxins while you sleep.

There's even some limited science to back up those ancient claims. Studies have shown that dandelion does contain diuretic and liver-detoxifying properties, and promising new research is looking into whether dandelion root has cancer-killing properties as well. A small lab study in mice even found that hot water dandelion root extract reduced alcohol-related liver damage in mice. However, scientific research has not been able to prove all the claims about dandelion root and health, and more research is needed.

Even so, medical experts regard dandelion use as generally safe—rare side effects include upset stomach and diarrhea—making dandelion root tea a good option if you're looking for ways to detox and debloat. Be sure to note the warnings about who shouldn't ingest dandelion root, however, and find a reputable, high-quality brand you trust (we like the Roasted Dandelion Root Tea from Traditional Medicinals). Talk to your doctor if you are taking any medication as well, since the weed can interact with some medications, such as lithium, certain antibiotics, and drugs that are broken down by your liver. And note that dandelion tea can have laxative effects, so try it out at night if you've never had it before.


Dandelion root extract approved for clinical trials of cancer-fighting benefits

(CTV Windsor)

Encouraging news for University of Windsor cancer researchers.

Health Canada has given scientists the go-ahead to begin a clinical trial of the cancer-fighting benefits of dandelion root extract.

It has shown promising hope in killing bad cells, while leaving the healthy ones alone.

A request for a human trial was submitted in 2012 and is only now getting the green-light.

The trial is now open for oncologist referrals, with room for 30 patients, who have exhausted all other cancer treatments


Dandelion as a cancer fighting ally?

By Angelica Werts

Dandelions, weeds that have over-taken many a gardener’s yard, are being heralded as new natural treatments for cancer.

Research in 2008 showed that dandelion leaf hindered the growth of breast cancer in one case and completely halted the expansion of prostate cancer in another. Although the dandelion is noted to have no effect on the cancer itself, it has the ability to keep it from branching out into other parts of the body. Dandelion root shows great promise as it could serve as a welcome substitute to the often toxic chemotherapy that can eliminate malicious cells as well as the healthy ones.

Dandelion’s beneficial properties are due to the antioxidants it contains which can fend against free-radicals, or substances that harm the DNA structure based on a study from 2003. Aside from being an up and coming suppressant for cancer cells, there is evidence to support that it can lower blood sugar and keep cholesterol in sync for those suffering with diabetes.

Dandelion is a testament to the natural cures and remedies being studied today and could make a great companion-treatment to chemotherapy. Taking dandelion supplements or eating it fresh regularly can help prevent cancer along with a healthy diet and exercise.

Dandelion has been scientifically proven to dispose of bacteria and soothe inflammation, but it is not advised for patients to self-medicate with it as research has not fully explored its potential and side effects. People wanting to use dandelion for an ailment should discuss it with their doctor first.


Dandelion Root: The Ingredient Your Smoothie is Missing

By Michelle Schoffro Cook

Now that smoothies are all the rage, I am regularly asked what type of smoothies I drink. I always tell people dandelion smoothies are my all-time favorite. It’s no joke: they’re not just great from a health perspective but they are absolutely delicious too.

By now, I’m used to peoples’ eyes bugging whenever dandelion smoothies are the topic of conversation, but I always ask people to give roasted dandelion root smoothies a chance.

First, let me share that dandelion has been undergoing extensive research, especially at Canada’s leading medical university for its potent anti-cancer properties (published in the journal Molecules). It has even been effective against chemotherapy-resistant cancers! These types of cancers don’t respond to chemotherapy. Both dandelion root and greens are serious liver boosters as well. Research in the Journal of Medicinal Food found that dandelion helps to protect the liver against damage from other drugs, including painkillers like acetaminophen.

And that’s just the beginning of dandelion’s therapeutic properties. It is high in the essential but mostly overlooked mineral boron that is necessary for bone-building, it purifies the blood and is even a powerful natural antibiotic. But even if you’re just interested in a delicious smoothie, adding roasted and ground dandelion root is tastes similar to an iced and blended coffee. Here’s how to make it:

Ingredients

2 cups almond milk
½ cup raw, unsalted cashews
1 teaspoon honey or a dash of stevia (optional, I make mine unsweetened)
2 tablespoons ground, roasted dandelion roots
6 ice cubes

Add the almond milk, cashews, honey or stevia, and dandelion root to a blender. Blend until smooth. Add the ice cubes and blend again. Serve immediately.

How to Roast Dandelion Roots

Dandelion is best picked away from high-traffic areas or areas that have been sprayed with pesticides. Ideally, pick dandelion root after a rainfall since the roots seem to come out easier.

Clean the roots and cut off the tops (you can save the young greens as an addition to salads or sautéed in a little olive oil and minced garlic and tossed with some fresh lemon juice and sea salt). Place on a baking sheet in a 200 degree Fahrenheit oven and roast for 1-1/2 to 3 hours, depending on the root size and desired level of roast.

Dandelion is similar to coffee with light and dark roast options. Remove from the oven and let cool. Grind to a fine powder in a coffee or spice grinder. You can also use a high powered blender with a dry ingredients canister. Store the powder in an airtight jar and use as desired. Alternatively, if it is too much work or you don’t have access to good quality dandelions, you can also purchase pre-roasted and ground dandelion roots in packages at many health food stores and online.


Paul Hetzler: Consider The Dandelion

By Paul Hetzler

April showers bring May flowers, but not all posies are a welcome sight. Although it is quite possible they arrived on the Mayflower, dandelions do not get the esteem they deserve as plucky immigrants that put down firm roots in a new land, or as a vitamin-packed culinary delight, or as a multi-purpose herbal remedy.

On this latter point, dandelion is so well-respected that it garnered the Latin name Taraxicum officinale, which roughly means “the official remedy for disorders.” There are many reported health benefits of dandelion, including as a liver support and for alleviating kidney and bladder stones, as well as externally as a poultice for skin boils. I don’t pretend to know every past and present medicinal use of the plant, and I strongly recommend consulting a respected herbalist, as well as your health care provider, before trying to treat yourself.

That said, the University of Maryland Medical Center has devoted an entire web page to dandelion, and it cites some peer-reviewed studies. I had previously heard that dandelion was used as an adjunct diabetes treatment, but had not found any references. However, the U of M Medical Center states that:

“Preliminary animal studies suggest that dandelion may help normalize blood sugar levels and lower total cholesterol and triglycerides while raising HDL (good) cholesterol in diabetic mice. Researchers need to see if dandelion will work in people. A few animal studies also suggest that dandelion might help fight inflammation.”

I’d say that’s not bad for a weed. You can buy dried and chopped dandelion root in bulk or in capsule form at most health-food stores, or you can get it for free in your back yard, providing you don’t use lawn chemicals.

Dandelion’s common name comes from the French “dent de lion,” or lion’s tooth, referring to the robust serrations along their leaves. Leaves vary widely in appearance, though, and aside from their yellow mane, not every dandelion is as leonid as the next. Apparently the French have a corner on the common-name market, because the other dandelion moniker is “pis en lit,” or “wet the bed,” as the dried root is strongly diuretic. More on that later.

Dandelion greens are best in early spring before they are done flowering. Harvesting late in the season is kind of like picking lettuce and spinach after they have bolted—edible, but not at their best. If you had a few dandelions take root in your garden last year, they are probably ready to uproot and eat right now. Sort of a new twist on the phrase “weed-and-feed.”

Young greens can be blanched and served in salad, or else boiled, but I like them best when chopped and sautéed. They go well in omelets, stir-fry, soup, casserole, or any savory dish for that matter. Fresh roots can be peeled, thinly sliced and sautéed. A real treat is dandelion crowns. The reason they flower so early is that they have fully-formed flower bud clusters tucked into the center of the root crown, whereas many other flowers bloom on new growth. After cutting off the leaves, take a paring knife and excise the crowns, which can be steamed and served with butter.

Roasted dandelion roots make the best coffee substitute I have ever tasted, and that’s saying something because I really love coffee. Scrub fresh roots and spread them out on an oven rack so they are not touching each other. You can experiment with higher settings, but I roast them at about 250 until they are crispy and dark brown throughout. Honestly I can’t say just how long it takes, somewhere between 2 and 3 hours. At any rate I always roast them when I have to be in the house anyway, and check them frequently after the two-hour mark. Grind them using a food processor or mortar and pestle. Compared to coffee, you use a bit less of the ground root per cup.

The beverage tastes dandy, but as mentioned above, it is more diuretic than coffee or black tea. I have never found this a problem, but if your morning commute frequently involves a traffic snarl, choose your breakfast drink accordingly.

I have not tried dandelion wine, a tradition that dates back centuries in Europe, and so have no first-hand experience to report, but scads of recipes can be found on the Internet. Several friends and family members have tried it, with negative and positive reviews pretty well split. I have no idea if it is personal preference or winemaking skill that is so evenly divided.

Given all the virtues of dandelions, it is amazing how much time and treasure our culture puts into eradicating them. It seems to verge on an obsession with some people, who drench their lawn with selective broadleaf herbicides like 2,4-D, dicamba and mecoprop. These all come with health risks, not to mention hefty price tags.

For those who perhaps take the whole lion connection too far and can’t sleep at night if there are dandelions lurking on the premises, I’ll share a secret to getting them out of the landscape. Setting the mower to cut at four inches high will not only get rid of most weeds, it will help prevent diseases, and will greatly reduce the need for fertilizer.

I say we stop trying to kill the only North American lion that is not in danger of extinction, and learn to appreciate and use it more.


Get a healthy gut by eating these three things

By DAVID PERLMUTTER

We all know eating well is important, but what if I told you that every food choice you make is either helping – or harming, the 100 trillion bacteria that call your intestines home.

Called the microbiome, this vibrant community of microscopic organisms is now the focus of cutting-edge science, which is exploring how the microbes in out gut influence every aspect of our physiology, including the activity of every brain cell.

Just what do your gut bugs do you for? For starters, they aid in digestion and the absorption of nutrients. They support the immune system and the body's detoxification systems.

They produce and release important enzymes and substances that collaborate with your biology, as well as making brain chemicals like serotonin, the "feel good" transmitter. They keep the gut wall from becoming 'leaky' or permeable (a cause of inflammation).

We now fully embrace the notion that depression is an inflammatory disorder, and that this inflammation is mediated by gut bacteria. Put simply, your microbiome influences practically everything about your health, including how you feel both emotionally and physically.

What you eat is arguably the most powerful way to promote the health and diversity of your microbiome, determining whether or not your gut is populated by health-sustaining organisms or by bad bugs.

This is my dietary prescription for managing your intestinal bacteria:

EAT MORE PREBIOTIC FOODS

Prebiotics are indigestible fibre and they are the ingredients that good gut bacteria use as fuel to nourish their own growth and activity, so they can do their job keeping their host (that's you!) healthy.

Prebiotics occur naturally in a variety of foods, and some of the richest sources include garlic, onions, leeks, asparagus, chicory, Jerusalem artichoke and dandelion greens.

Foods high in prebiotics have been a part of the human diet since prehistoric times. It has been estimated that the typical hunter-gatherer consumed as much as 135g of inulin, a type of prebiotic fibre, daily.

Most of us don't get anywhere near enough prebiotics, so you should try to add them to your daily menu. I recommend two servings of prebiotic-rich foods each day.

ENJOY FERMENTED FOODS DAILY

You can get your probiotics (or beneficial bacteria) from a broad spectrum supplement, but I'd also suggest consuming whole, natural fermented foods daily.

These foods are naturally rich in probiotics, making them exceptionally bioavailable, or more easily accepted by your body.

Long before probiotics became available in capsules, people enjoyed the health benefits of fermented foods – in fact evidence suggests that humans have been fermenting foods for at least the last 7,000 years.

Try making the following probiotic-rich fermented foods part of your regular diet, enjoying them as a side dish or a condiment once or twice a day.

• Yogurt with live cultures (or coconut yoghurt)
• Kefir, a fermented drink made from milk or coconut milk
• Kombucha, a fizzy, fermented black or green tea
• Kimchi, a traditional Korean dish made from cabbage
• Sauerkraut
• Pickled fruits and vegetables
• Fermented meat, fish and eggs
BOOST YOUR HEALTHY FATS, REDUCE YOUR CARBS

I believe the optimal eating plan for a healthy gut and for overall health is a low-carb diet that's devoid of simple sugars, gluten-containing grains and flours, and is rich in healthy fats as well as prebiotic fibre.

By healthy fats, I mean extra virgin olive oil, coconut and sesame oil, butter, and the natural fats found in cold-water wild fish, grass-fed meat, poultry, and pork, eggs, avocados, nuts and seeds.

This particular diet supplies the ingredients to nourish not only healthy biology – and in turn a healthy microbiome – but also a healthy brain.

A low-carb diet is a diet that keeps blood sugar balanced and gut bacteria balanced. Ultimately, our gut microorganisms are our body's best friends, so let's do our best to take care of them.

- JuiceDaily.com.au


So Many Reasons to Love Dandelion Root + 3 Ways to Use It

By: Andrea Bertoli

So many people have an unhappy reaction when they see dandelions pop up in their yard in the springtime, but these ‘weeds’ are actually a nutrient-dense food that has been used to nourish people for centuries.

The entire dandelion plant is edible– the roots, the leaves and even the flowers. Dandelion greens are delicious and full of vitamins and minerals – including A, C and K. They are a great green to use in salads, stir-fries and more. But it’s the roots that are the most powerful part of this unassuming plant. Dandelion root has been used for centuries as a tonic to improve the digestive system, and is credited with being especially helpful to the liver.

The Many Health Benefits of Dandelion Root

In herbalist practice, the roots are mainly used to stimulate the appetite, and to aid the liver and gallbladder. The plant has also been used traditionally as a diuretic.

Dandelion root also contains inulin, a type of fiber known as a prebiotic, which can help treat and prevent digestive issues as well as support a healthy immune system.

Dandelion root is generally regarded as safe, but it is always recommended to speak with a health care practitioner or herbalist before using a new herbal preparation. There are also allergy triggers for dandelion for those allergic to ragweed, chrysanthemums, marigold, chamomile, yarrow, daisies, or iodine, you should avoid dandelion.

How to use Dandelion Root for Tea, Tinctures and Other Drinks

One of the most beneficial ways to reap the benefits of dandelion root is to make dandelion root tea. Not only do many tea companies offer a packaged dandelion root tea (often under names like ‘detox’ or ‘liver cleanse’), many natural food stores will sell dandelion root in bulk. Dandelion root can then be blended at home for customized homemade herbal tea blends. Here’s an example of how you an use dandelion in a homemade tea blend.

While raw dandelion root has a bitter, medicinal flavor, roasted dandelion root is often used as an alternative to coffee because it tastes roasty and sweet. You can roast your own dandelion root, or try some of the ready-made dandelion ‘coffees’ on the market — my favorites are Teeccino and Dandy Blend.

Teeccino makes a huge variety of teabags and loose grounds that look like coffee, are brewed like coffee, and taste like coffee– but contain no caffeine and have all the health benefits of dandelion and chicory root. I like the mocha flavor over ice, which is slightly sweetened with dates and chocolate. Add your favorite plant-based milk and it’s like a healthy latte for any time of day. Dandy Blend is another instant alternative, made from dandelion root, grains and sugar beets. It’s a fine powder that can be used to make healthy mocha smoothies, or stirred into milk or ice water for an instant coffee-like (caffeine-free) drink. You can also make homemade dandelion root coffee.

Another way to enjoy the benefits of dandelion root is to make your own tinctures. Learn how to make homemade dandelion and cacao bitters, a stimulating tonic for cocktails and sodas, and these dandelion bitters for helping digestion and supplemental nutrition.


Dandelions: nuisance or nature’s nutritious gem?

By Jess Scott Wright, RDN

In my experience, spring is the best antidote for the wet, winter blues, and it’s here! Walk outside and you can see, smell and hear nature rejoicing. Unfortunately, not everything that reemerges with spring is welcomed with open arms – mosquitoes, garden pests, blackberry vines and weeds can undermine the stress-busting properties of gardening and landscaping.

Springtime encourages outdoor activities such as gardening, which many research studies have found to reduce stress and promote positive mental health. The American Horticulture Therapy Association promotes an entire handbook dedicated to the powerful effects of gardening called “The Benefits of Gardening and Food Growing for Health and Well-Being,” which is available for free online via Google Scholar and is full of scientific information in support of this notion.

Depending on your definition of what constitutes a weed, the art of weed pulling may extend health benefits far beyond our mental wellbeing. Take dandelions for example:

Dandelions may look like weeds and their stubborn root might be really challenging to dig out of the ground, but they are truly healing gifts from nature. Not only are they easily identifiable, the dandelion is totally edible from root to flower, and it has a delicious versatility in the culinary world.

Just like spinach or kale, dandelion greens are tasty additions to soups or salads. Young greens have the best flavor for eating raw, or lightly sautéed in olive oil and sprinkled with salt and pepper, but for more mature greens, you may want to tame the potentially acrid taste by blanching them for 20 to 30 seconds in boiling water and shocking them in an ice bath to stop the cooking process. Store dandelion greens in containers/storage drawers that control moisture.

Dandelion greens are vitamin A and K powerhouses. In fact, just one cup provides more than 500 percent of the daily value for Vitamin K according to nutritiondata.self.com, so those taking anticoagulants like warfarin or Coumadin may want to talk to their healthcare provider before causing major shifts in their normal vitamin K intake with dandelion greens.

Dr. Siyaram Pandey, a biochemist at the University of Windsor in Ontario has been studying the effects of dandelion root extract on cancer. Thanks to his published findings and overwhelming support, Dr. Pandey acquired approval to study the possible cancer-fighting effects of dandelion extract, making it the first natural extract to receive approval for a clinical human cancer trial in Canada from Health Canada, the federal department responsible for governing medicine and healthcare in Canada.

In a TEDx talk about his research, Dr. Pandey said, “We dug out the dandelion root and just ground it in a home blender with water, made the extract, filtered it, tried to put it in the same Petri dishes where we grow the leukemia cells, and frankly speaking I was not expecting any activity because it was so diluted.” To his surprise, cancer cells started dying while healthy cells remained unharmed.

For centuries dandelion has been regarded for its potent healing and medicinal properties. As sources of calcium, antioxidants such as vitamin C and many minerals such as zinc, magnesium, potassium and phosphorus, dandelion leaves have traditionally been dried and made into teas and tinctures that are said to improve inflammation, promote healthy function for the liver, kidney and gallbladder and resolve symptoms associated with diseases like diabetes and high blood pressure.

Lately, I’ve been rendered breathless by the beauty of the exploding cherry blossoms. The colorful tulips sneakily emerge like flecks of joyous laughter through the landscapes and of course there are dandelions, which I assume are received with mixed emotions as they bring a scattered, chaotic, and persistent interruption to any hopes of having a flawless lawn like the one down the street so green that my husband stares enviously when he passes. I remind him that our grass, with all its patches and varietals, has character. This year I am going to embrace the dandelions, because when the next dreary, gray, wet winter arrives, I will miss them. But for now, I will eat them.

Please keep in mind that while eating dandelions is completely safe, when it comes to foraging, you must be certain that what you think you are eating is precisely that. Avoid wild dandelions along roadsides or in other areas subject to pollution or heavy pesticide use.

Many wild weeds are poisonous and easily mistaken by foragers as a safe edible plant. If you ever have an inkling of doubt, take a sample of your plant to a professional and have them confirm whether it is safe to eat or not. The Washington State Noxious Weed Control Board has helpful information in identifying poisonous weeds and how to handle them.


Dandelion, The Rise Of A New Coffee And Tea

By Anthia Koullouros (Naturopath, Holistic Health Expert)

Coffee consumption in Australia is on the rise but not just in the way that we know it. Cold brews and spicy lattes are on offer alongside the humble cappuccino. Trailing just behind is tea and herbal infusions which are reincarnating into glorious new forms. Tea lattes, perfectly timed brews and herbal tea blends, normally found in a herbalists apothecary, are gracing our menus.

One ingredient that interests me most is Dandelion, a herb that’s been used by herbalists for eons, can be made into a coffee or tea and is offered in various forms.

Have you been enjoying a dandy latte or a dandy chai? What about a caffeine free dandelion coffee?

So what is Dandelion?

Dandelion is a common pesky weed found in our front lawns or growing in the cracks of foot paths. It has a recognizable yellow flower head that turns into round balls of silver tufted fruits or puffs. The leaves and roots are used in herbal medicine. The are both an excellent source of vitamins and minerals. The leaves may be consumed raw in salads or sautéed with other greens or the dried leaves are taken in a tea form. The leaves act as a diuretic making them an excellent urinary cleanser. The dried raw root, consumed as a tea, is used as a bowel cleanser for constipation, it’s a bitter aid for poor digestion and absorption of nutrients and it stimulates the release of bile in order to help emulsify fats.

How did the pesky weed end up as a hot drink?

Well someone at some point thought it was a good idea to roast the root. And they were right! After harvesting, the dandelion roots are dried, chopped, and roasted. They are then ground into granules which are steeped in boiling water to produce dandelion coffee. It looks and smells like coffee and tastes like it too though not as strong and less acidic. In the late 19th century it was sold as a cheap coffee alternative. These days, dandelion coffee is revered for it’s health properties and because it’s caffeine free.

As you would make a plunger coffee, simply use 1 teaspoon of the roasted dandelion root or dandelion coffee per 1 cup of boiling water. Brew for 3-5 minutes. Drink as is or turn it into a dandelion cappuccino, latte, mocha etc. Instead of tea leaves, dandelion coffee may be used as base for a chai tea.

How to buy good dandelion coffee and other tips?

– The roasted root offers the same health benefits as raw dandelion root.

– Buy those that are sugar, grain and additive free and organic for a clean, chemical free brew.

– The addition of roasted chicory gives it a sweeter flavour and offers more digestive health benefits.

– Drink with cold organic full cream milk or try with fresh almond or coconut milk.

– It’s delicious with cinnamon sprinkles or steeped with a cinnamon quill.


7 Ways Dandelion Tea Could Be Good for You

By Anna Schaefer

It may be the arch nemesis of a yard-savvy homeowner, but dandelions aren’t without their redeeming qualities. As a matter of fact, these “weeds” are commonly used in folk medicine, and have been for quite some time.

When people talk about dandelion tea, they are largely talking about one of two different beverages: an infusion made of the plant’s leaves, or one made of roasted dandelion roots. Both are considered safe (so long as you haven’t sprayed your yard with herbicides or pesticides) and are used for a variety of purposes.

1. It Reduces Water Weight

If you’re feeling bloated, dandelion tea could provide relief because it acts as a diuretic and increases urine output. One study showed an increased urine output after two 1-cup servings of dandelion tea made from the leaves of the plant.

2. It Could Promote Liver Health

Dandelion root has long been held as a “liver tonic” in folk medicine. Preliminary studies suggest this is due, in part, to its ability to increase the flow of bile. While concrete findings on how this ultimately affects liver health are hard to come by, naturopaths believe it means that dandelion root tea could help detoxify the liver, help with skin and eye problems, and relieve symptoms of liver disease.

3. It Can Act As a Natural Coffee Substitute

You may be able to find this product of pre-prepared dandelion root at your local health food stores, but you can also harvest and make it from your own non-insecticide-treated, lawn-variety dandelions. The roots of young dandelion plants are roasted to a dark brown color. Then, after steeping in hot water and straining, it can be enjoyed as a coffee substitute.

4. Similarities Between Dandelion and a Weight Loss Drug?

A recent Korean study suggests that dandelion could have similar effects on the body as the weight loss drug Orlistat, which works by inhibiting pancreatic lipase, an enzyme released during digestion to break down fat. Testing the impact of dandelion extract in mice revealed similar results, prompting researchers to recommend further study on the possible anti-obesity effects of dandelion.

5. Dandelion Tea May Soothe Digestive Ailments

Dandelion root tea can have many positive effects on your digestive system, although much of the evidence is anecdotal. It has historically been used to improve appetite, soothe minor digestive ailments, and possibly relieve constipation.

6. It Could Have Future Anti-Cancer Applications

Recently, dandelion root has been studied for its cancer-fighting potential, and so far the results appear promising. A 2011 Canadian study showed that dandelion root extract induces cell death in melanoma cells without impacting non-cancerous cells, while another showed that it does the same to pancreatic cancer cells. While the anti-cancer effects of dandelion tea haven’t been tested, the potential is positive.

7. It May Help Prevent Urinary Tract Infections

Paired with another herb, uva ursi, dandelion roots and leaves may help prevent urinary tract infections. It’s believed this combination works because of anti-bacterial compounds in uva ursi, and the increased urination associated with dandelion. How to Make It

Perhaps one of the most important facts about dandelion tea is that it’s easy to find and make. Just make sure the plants have not been treated with any chemicals before harvesting them. Also, harvest the plants when they are young, preferably. After cleaning and preparing the plant, pour hot water over the top of greens or roasted and ground roots, steep, strain, and enjoy!


Nature & You: Don't dilly dally; Feast on dandelion greens

By Neil Garrison

The scourge of almost every homeowner's front lawn is that bothersome plant pest: the dandelion.

All of us labor long and hard to eradicate it. What we quickly discover, however, is that all of our efforts are to no avail. This pesky weed seems to thumb its nose at our feeble attempts at its destruction.

There is a popular saying that goes something like this: "If life hands you lemons ... make lemonade!" Thus, it might come as somewhat of a shock for you to discover that dandelion greens are a very nutritious food source. More traditional foodstuffs such as spinach and carrots can't hold a candle to dandelion greens when comparisons are made as to nutritional components such as iron, calcium and beta carotene. The nutritional value of dandelion greens far surpass that of spinach and carrots.

It is critically important, however, that you collect the dandelion leaves as early in the year as possible. If you delay for too long, the leaves will take on a bitter taste.

There is going to be a slight hint of bitterness even if you do everything right and collect the greens early in the year, rather than later. It is best, then, to combine the dandelion leaves with other, more traditional leafy greens and mild/sweet food combinations such as carrots, bell peppers and cauliflower.

Dandelions are a type of plant that is not "day length dependent;" this means they'll produce their colorful yellow flowers irregardless if the spans of daylight hours have or haven't lengthened sufficiently to signal the official start of the spring seasons. The chances are good, then, that you'll be able to find a few of the dandelion's flowers. You might want to pluck some of the flower petals and then use them as an eye-catching garnish to the top of the salad. Make a note, however, that you'll want to avoid the green component of the dandelion flower; that portion harbors too much of a bitter taste.

It would also do well to caution you to collect dandelions only in those places that have not been doused with chemical insecticides/herbicides. You want to be careful about what you put on your dining room table.

This fun exercise of gathering and consuming your own wild foods can serve as an excellent source of outdoor adventure for children. The end result might be a situation where Mom does not have to implore: "Now be sure and eat your veggies!"

If food collection and preparation is part of an outdoor game, children will be less likely to shun the culinary concoctions.

In the end, the poet Ralph Waldo Emerson probably said it best: "What is a weed? It is a plant whose virtues have never been discovered."


Health Benefits of Dandelions

(GBCGhana)

The health benefits of dandelion include relief from liver disorders, diabetes, urinary disorders, acne, jaundice, cancer and anemia. It also helps in maintaining bone health, skin care and is a benefit to weight loss programs.

Despite the health benefits of dandelions, they are traditionally more popular as ornamental flowering plants than as medicine, because the flowers of dandelions look brilliant and are frequently seen in gardens and parks. There are many varieties of dandelion, but the common dandelion is scientifically known as Taraxacum Officinale. In terms of history, the plant is believed to have evolved about 30 million years ago in Eurasia.

Dandelion, which literally translates into “lion’s tooth” in French, is rich in vitamin-A, C, iron and calcium and detoxifiers which explains its common inclusion in medicines. Below, we will discuss the different things that benefit can do for us, besides decorating our gardens.

Health Benefits of Dandelions

Bone Health: Dandelions are rich in calcium, which is essential for the growth and strength of bones, and they are rich in antioxidants like vitamin-C and Luteolin, which protect bones from age-related damage.

Liver Disorders: Dandelions can help the liver in many ways. While the antioxidants like vitamin-C and Luteolin keep the liver functioning in optimal gear and protect it from aging, other compounds in dandelions help treat hemorrhaging in the liver. Furthermore, dandelions aid in maintaining the proper flow of bile, while also stimulating the liver and promoting digestion.

Diabetes: Dandelion juice can help diabetic patients by stimulating the production of insulin from the pancreas, thereby keeping the blood sugar level low. Since dandelions are diuretic in nature, they increase urination in diabetic patients, which helps remove the excess sugar from the body.

Urinary Disorders: Dandelions are highly diuretic in nature, so they help eliminate deposits of toxic substances in the kidneys and the urinary tract. The disinfectant properties of dandelions also inhibit microbial growth in the urinary system.

Skin Care: Dandelion sap, also known as dandelion milk, is useful in treating skin diseases which are caused by microbial and fungal infections. This treatment stems from the fact that the sap is highly alkaline and has germicidal, insecticidal and fungicidal properties. You should be careful while using this sap, and avoid any contact with the eyes. This sap can be used on itches, ringworm, eczema, and other skin conditions without the risk of side effects or hormonal disturbances commonly caused by pharmaceutical skin treatments.

Acne: Dandelion juice is a good detoxifier, diuretic, stimulant and antioxidant. These four properties make it a great treatment for acne.

Cancer: Dandelions are high in antioxidants, such as vitamin-C and Luteolin, which reduce the free radicals (major cancer-causing agents) in the body, thereby reducing the risk of cancer. It also detoxifies the body, which further helps protect from the development of tumors and various cancers.

Jaundice: Jaundice is primarily a disorder of the liver in which the organ starts overproducing bile, which ultimately enters the bloodstream and wreaks havoc on the body’s metabolism. The excess bile is also reflected through color of the skin, and eyes, which typically develop a yellow tint. The treatment of jaundice includes three main steps. First, you need to curb the production of bile. Second, you must remove the excess bile from the body, and third, you have to fight the underlying viral infection. Gall Bladder Disorders: Dandelions are very beneficial for the gall bladder and liver, because they improve their general functioning, protects them from ill effects of oxidants and infections, and regulates the various secretions from both organs.

Constipation: Certain components of dandelion, namely the high levels of dietary fiber, make it a beneficial aid for digestion and proper intestinal health. Dietary fiber stimulates healthy bowel movements by adding bulk to stool, and also reduces chances of constipation as well as diarrhea. It regulates bowel movements, which can prevent more serious gastrointestinal issues.

Anemia: Dandelions have relatively good levels of iron, vitamins, and protein content. While iron is the integral part of hemoglobin in the blood, vitamins like vitamin-B and protein are essential for the formation of red blood cells and certain other components of the blood. This way dandelion can help anemic people keep their condition in check.

High Blood Pressure: Urination is an effective way of lowering blood pressure. In fact, most of the modern medicines for lowering blood pressure are based on this phenomenon. Dandelion juice, being diuretic in nature, increases urination, both in quantity and frequency. Therefore, it helps lower high blood pressure. The fiber in dandelion is also helpful in reducing cholesterol and thereby assists in lowering blood pressure, since cholesterol is one of the factors that increases blood pressure. Finally, there is the high potassium content of dandelions, which is very effective in lowering blood pressure by replacing sodium.

Other Benefits: Dandelions can also be used as a vegetable and is a good source of fiber. It promotes digestion, and in the past, it was used to treat scurvy, because of its high levels of vitamin-C. It also has healing effects on dyspepsia, infections in the stomach, intestines and urinary system.

A Few Words of Warning: Dandelions can be helpful to diabetics by lowering blood sugar, but for patients already taking blood-sugar modulators, this can result in hypoglycemia, an equally dangerous condition. Consult your doctor before adding dandelion supplements on top of your normal treatment. Also, the milk sap of dandelions has been known to cause itchiness, irritation, or allergic reactions on the skin, and should be kept away from the eyes. Finally, there is a rare type of fiber in dandelions called inulin, and some people have a predisposed sensitivity or allergy to it which can be quite severe. When first adding dandelion greens to your diet in any way, start small and closely monitor your body’s response.

Other than that, pick some delicious dandelion greens and get healthy!


Is Dandelion Coffee the Next Big Health Craze?

By Kristina Rodulfo

Kombucha. Birch Sap. Maple Water. Bee Panacea. In case you aren’t clued into the wide world of wellness, these are just a few buzzy drinks health fiends are fond of obsessing over. And while they’re decidedly more unique than a cup of green tea, they’re pretty tame compared to the latest superfood craze: Dandelion coffee.

Yes, dandelions—the yellow flowers typically considered lawn weeds—have steadily been gaining attention for their nutritional value, especially in the form of instant “coffee.” Although don’t expect to see this concoction pop up at your local Starbucks any time soon. The caffeine-free herbal drink is made from a blend of roasted dandelion root, sugar beet, rye and chicory root—so no, it’s not really coffee—but fans claim the flavor is a pretty convincing stand-in.

Although it’s having a resurgence among the wellness crowd, dandelion—like kombucha and matcha—has been a health solution for centuries. In Chinese medicine it was used for detoxifying the liver, gallbladder and kidneys and for aiding inflammation. More recent reported claims of dandelions’ health benefits are extensive, including lowering cholesterol, fighting diabetes, suppressing appetite, balancing pH levels in your body, containing probiotics and giving that much-needed early morning or afternoon slump energy boost.

But does it really work? “The plant itself does contain vitamins A, B, C, and D, as well as minerals such as iron, potassium and zinc, but that isn’t reason enough to start chowing down,” said Amanda Foti, senior dietitian at weight management company Selvera. Foti explained that beyond Chinese medicine sources, “there’s insufficient human trials to prove dandelions’ efficacy. Some preliminary animal studies demonstrate dandelion to have positive effects on cholesterol panels, but we cannot jump to conclusions just from these studies.”

Based on her knowledge, Foti doesn’t recommend ditching your morning coffee for a dandelion blend permanently, and suggests instead turning to—you guessed it—water if you’re looking for a legit drinkable health boost. “The best thing I can recommend for a client to drink is water, water, water!” Foti said. “Most of us are chronically dehydrated so it’s important to drink at least 48 to 64 ounces of fluids daily.” It might not be as exotic as flowers and sugar beet, but it’s definitely more accessible.


Cleansing the body

By Maureen Minto

WE all want to be healthy. In our quest to be healthy, we often emphasise the need for building our bodies by consuming foods rich in protein, vitamins and minerals, and little starch or fat. We savour the salty, sweet and sour taste of foods and often refuse bitter-tasting foods that compliment the cleansing process of digestion.

Is cleansing foods right for me?

Our bodies give us many simple warning signs that it needs cleansing. These signs are often ignored or treated as symptoms of more serious illnesses. These symptoms may be: biliousness; dizzy spells; bloating; high body odour; dark colour and strong odour of urine; dark colour and strong, unpleasant odour of stool. Our bodies are naturally designed to handle toxins or waste. Our liver, kidneys, lungs, bloodstream, colon, and skin are built to neutralise or eliminate toxins and waste. To compliment this natural cleansing process, ancient man would utilise the benefits of bitter herbs.

Foods that are bitter to the mouth are sweet to the belly. The truth is the chemical rush that bitter cleansing herbs create throughout the body might influence the quality of digestion, absorption and elimination. This bitter benefit is often destroyed by adding sweeteners to the bitter preparation.

Throughout the 6,000 years of man's existence, herb has played a vital role in maintaining excellent health. Jamaicans have used herbal treatment for cleansing toxins and waste from the body. The dandelion plant is one of the most commonly used herb for cleansing the liver and kidneys. I grew up hearing that my sister was born with a hole in her heart and that the dandelion was a part of the useful treatment that corrected it. Coincidentally, I have used it for the same ailment and still observe similar benefits.

It is back-to-school time again and I know that may households still practise the twice-year purging or cleansing that was a very vital part of preventative treatment against diseases.

BEST TYPES OF CLEANSING

Today, there are many products and methods of cleansing on the market - pharmaceutical or herbal. Herbal methods are recommended as they are natural and when rightly applied have no side effects. Not every product or method of cleansing the body is effective for all organs, persons or health conditions. For example, if you take herbs for cleansing the liver only, when the toxic blood is passed through the liver again, toxins from the blood will be re-deposited in the liver.

It is sad that man is exposed to so much toxins daily. Our food, air and water is very toxic. Today, food and beverage advertisers collectively spend billions of dollars in an attempt to convince us to consume their product filled with preservatives, additives, sugar, fat, artificial colouring, and flavourings that burden our minds, bodies and spirits.

Many nutritionists agree that lack of bitter-tasting food or herbs contribute to the increase in digestive-related diseases and ulcers, inflammatory conditions, immune challenges, diabetes, and many other serious illnesses.

Each year, lifestyle diseases are responsible for a significant number of all deaths. Many of these deaths could be prevented if the tradition of taking bitter cleansing herbs were followed. Now, more than ever, there is an urgent need for total body cleanse.

Photos of Dandelion Flowers and Plannts